Thursday, April 28, 2016
I was thrilled to see three of them all lined up in a row, posing for me, so I snapped the picture above. But as usual, Mrs. Geotripper saw a symmetry that I didn't notice, a 90 degree angle made by my Stilts, and a group of Long-billed Dowitchers. She got the nice shot below.
According the Cornell site, their populations have been holding steady, which is pretty good since most birds these days are declining.
The San Luis National Wildlife Refuge protects 42 square miles of floodplains, wetlands, swamps and grasslands along the San Joaquin River in the Great Valley. There are a number of auto tours and hiking routes available, and we've seen interesting birds in every season of the year.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
see this post from last year).
Sunday, April 24, 2016
|See? Hard to miss.|
It appears that these birds aren't seen all that often around here, as they are usually migrating through the area on their way to breeding grounds farther to the north in Nevada as far as southern Canada. They winter in Mexico, New Mexico, and Texas. There are a handful of breeding colonies in our Great Valley, although they were once more plentiful before 90% of the valley wetlands were plowed over.
POSTSCRIPT (7/6/17): The scientific name of the Northern Harrier has been changed to Circus hudsonius.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
We've been fighting for an outdoor education facility on this campus for more than thirty years, and it is our understanding that it is finally going to happen. We haven't been kept in the loop on the planning, so I hope it doesn't get screwed up. There is a lot of potential value in having something more than displays in a museum. Displays are important, but imagine the thrill of learning something inside the museum, and then stepping outdoors and witnessing the phenomena in real life. It's priceless..
|The field of dreams! I hope it won't turn out to be a broken dream.|
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Meadowlarks have one of the prettiest bird songs around. I grew up hearing them on my Grandparent's ranch when I was a child, so whenever I hear them these days, I briefly turn eight years old again, when an acre was a trackless wilderness in which all manner of adventures could be had.
Friday, April 1, 2016
The local birders report that some palm trees along the Tuolumne River at Fox Grove east of Modesto is a reliable nesting area, so I searched there last year and got two fuzzy pictures. I check out the grove again today, and saw lots of Starlings and doves in the palms. As I was about to leave, I saw one more dark silhouette that I thought was one more Starling, but it was moving a bit differently than the others. I zoomed in, and it was a Hooded Oriole!