Pheasants and Other Birds on New Year’s Day

Male Ring-Necked Pheasant. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.
Male Ring-Necked Pheasant. Copyright © 2016 Mary K. Hanson. All rights reserved.

Happy New Year!  I slept right through whatever midnight madness happened outside of the house.  Marty said the neighbor’s shot off fireworks, but I didn’t hear them.

Apparently, Sergeant Margie slept through the noise, too, which is just as well.  Fireworks freak him out in his old age.

I headed out with him to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge again around 7:30 am.  I  thought that if everyone was still stoned from their New Year’s Eve celebrations, there would be no one at the preserve.  Wrong.  There were people everywhere, and because of that and the stiff north wind that was blowing, if was hard to get any photos.  No eagles were in sight, and a lot of the other raptors were snugged up in trees or on the ground to get away from the wind.  At one point along the auto tour four cars blocked the entire road.  Their drivers were trying to get pictures of a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the ground… but it was so incredibly rude of them to block the whole road that people lining up in cars behind me actually started honking (a “no-no” on the auto tour because it frightens the birds).  One car in front of us finally moved so the rest of us could squeeze past it, and the hawk flew off just as I drove by it.

Earlier in the drive, I saw a pair of Harrier Hawks trying to get their young fledgling to fly, but he sat on the ground and didn’t want to budge – the wind was too strong and kept knocking him around.  Some of the photos I took showed how much the winds stirred up the water in the flat wetland – making the surface really choppy, and creating small waves.  During this visit, I also saw mule deer, Loggerhead Shrikes, Pied-Billed Grebes, Black Phoebes, Eared Grebes, Ring-Necked Ducks, a sleeping American Wigeon floating on the water like a bobber, Red-Tailed Hawks, Ruddy Ducks, Northern Shovelers, Great Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Ring-Necked Pheasants, Snow Geese, White-Fronted Geese, Bufflehead ducks and others.

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I left the reserve around 12:30 and got back home a little after 2:00 pm