Birds in the Fog

I got up around 8 o’clock this morning (and so did Marty), and I was out the door and heading to the Cosumnes River Preserve within a few minutes.  It was foggy and overcast again this morning.  As I was heading out the door I told Marty where I was going, and he said, “In the fog?  Are you going to be able to SEE anything?”  I didn’t know if I would see anything, but I thought of it as kind of an experiment: to see how the birds around the preserve acted in a dense fog.  Well, apparently they don’t act much differently in the fogs as they do in the sunlight.  Morning hours are morning hours to them whether it’s overcast or not…

On my way to the preserve I went up and Desmond Road (because the gates at the preserve weren’t open yet), and also circled around to Bruceville Road which run parallel to some of the wetlands area and some farmland.  While I was inching my way in the car down Bruceville, I came across a police car coming from the opposite direction, driving as slowly as I was.  The officers were out birding that morning, too.  Hah-2!

One of the most unusual things I saw was a large bird carcass along the shallow levy on the wetlands area.  It was large and nearly picked clean; I figured based on its size it must’ve been a goose.  There was very little left but the bones and one wing.  The scavengers had made quick work of it.

I saw the usual suspects: hawks, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Turkey Vultures, Pintails, Coots, a couple of Great Egrets, chubby little sparrows (including a White-Crowned Sparrow and what I think was a Savanna Sparrow), an American Kestrel, House Finches, Cinnamon Teals, a Wilson’s Snipe (hunkered down next to a much larger duck that I think was a Gadwall), some Green-Winged Teals, Mallards, a Black-Necked Stilt, a Great Blue Heron (hidden down next to one of the egrets), several Killdeer and Meadowlarks in a field, and a flock of Snow Geese taking off in the fog.  While I was watching the Kestrel, it kept tugging at stuff stuck to one of its feet.  A closer look seemed to indicate that the “stuff” was wet feathers.  I don’t know if they were the Kestrel’s feathers (caught on its feet when it was scratching itself) or were feathers that belonged to something else.  Oh, and I also I saw my first Brown-Headed Cowbird (a female feeding alongside a Coot).  They’re super-common birds, but I’d never seen a “live” one before.

I stayed out there for almost 4 hours before heading back to the house.