Thursday, February 23, 2017
As I continued walking around the pond, a Western Bluebird (Sialia Mexicana) alit on the fence post only a few yards away from me. These beautiful birds tend to be a little more cautious in my presence, but maybe the coming spring is releasing some of their inhibitions. It stayed in place while I got some of the sharpest pictures I've ever managed to capture of these colorful creatures.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Sunday, February 12, 2017
It's been a long time since we've been able to make a birding trip (which I complained about yesterday) but today we had a chance to sneak away for a couple of hours. We ended up on the Tule Elk Auto-tour at the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge south of Turlock in the Great Valley. The road follows the edge of the Tule Elk enclosure and parallels Salt Slough, a tributary to the San Joaquin River, and offers views of grasslands and riparian habitats. We saw a fair number of interesting birds, but my favorite shot of the day was a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) that was watching us while we explored one of the fishing holes on Salt Slough.
The refuge was, for the first time in five years, looking...wet. It's been a tough period for birds and other animals that make the refuge home, but the heavy rains this season have caused the luxuriant growth of grasses on the prairie.
It's always a pleasure to spot an owl. Can you see it in the picture below?
Saturday, February 11, 2017
based on DNA and genetics research. I'm fine with that, since the little rumps would become Audubon's Warblers, a name with much more charisma and gravitas. Although, I have to admit that my first post on the Yellow-rumps had the greatest number of hits of any post on this blog. Since most of my hits come from Google searches, I don't want to speculate why.
Friday, February 3, 2017
I was picking someone up at Sacramento Airport the other day, and had enough time to make a brief stop at the Cosumnes River Preserve between Stockton and Sacramento. If I had been intending to hike the usual nature trail around the wetland, it just wasn't going to happen...the Cosumnes River was flowing at around 6,000 cubic feet per second, and the entire trail was deep underwater. But as I was looking at the inundated trailhead, I spied a Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) in the shrubs nearby, and it allowed me a few pictures. They are pretty little tyrant flycatchers that are fun to watch as they do their aerial acrobatics chasing insects.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
With the cessation of the seemingly endless rains of the last month (okay, for us Californians it felt that way), the drainage pond on our west campus is filled to the brim, and the local ducks and geese have taken note. I've seen a dozen or Mallards lurking in the brush, and this evening there were four Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). There was nothing overly remarkable about seeing geese in the pond, but I really liked the way they grouped themselves to pose for tonight's photograph.