After work, it was nice outside and traffic wasn’t too bad so I drove out to Desmond Road by the Cosumnes River Preserve to see if I could get some more raptor photos. The big surprise as I came up over the hump of the railroad tracks to get down onto the road was a whole herd of goats being used for clean-up duty. The preserve let the goats graze down all of the dead grass and weeds and stuff so they don’t have to send guys out there with noisy weed-whackers or mowers that would frighten all of the migrating birds. Cool!
As for birds: lots of Snow Geese were out there along with their grey juveniles, a bunch of teeny-tiny Dunlins, Killdeer, Meadowlarks, a Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebes, Greater White-Fronted Geese, Northern Shoveler and Pintail ducks, a pair of Green Teals, Red-Winged Blackbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds, loads of Coots and the other usual suspects.
I watched a Great Egret catching snails and dragonfly nymphs in the muddy grass, and a few Sandhill Cranes were venturing closer to the side of the road than I’d ever seen them, so I got some shots of them, too. And I got to see some Cattle Egret. They’re very common along the highways and farmlands, but I’d never seen any at the preserve before, and I’d never been able to get any decent close-ups of any of them, so it was kind of a treat to see them there. As for the raptors: I saw some American Kestrels, a Harrier Hawk fly-by, a scruffy-looking Red-Tailed Hawk and a juvenile Red-Shouldered Hawk…
On the way off of Desmond Road, heading back home, I saw a white form sitting on top of a tree, so I took some pictures of it. I wasn’t sure what it was until I got home and could look at the photos. It was a White-Tailed Kite! Too far away to get a decent photo of it, but that was a nice find. So, for an impromptu birding expedition, it was pretty successful.