Wow, it’s been a while since I posted. There has been so much rain here (8″ in Sacramento just since January 1st) that I’ve been closed out of all of my usual walking spots because of flooding.
I was feeling better on Saturday and after taking some Dramamine to help combat the remaining vestiges of vertigo, I headed out to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge had been closed for most of the week because of flooding, and this was the first day it was open again.
When I left the house it was in the 30’s and super foggy in Sacramento, and it stayed cold and foggy until I got around Maxwell in Colusa County. Then it was bright and sunny and about 10 degrees warmer. Apparently EVERYONE decided to come out there, though, so the place was unusually packed with cars… which can interfere a lot with how many birds you can see up close. The American Coots were very obliging, and I even came across a spot where Snow Geese were nestled down in the grass along the road of the auto-tour because it was warm there. Along one of the sloughs, there was a whole grouping of individual birds that also didn’t seem intimidated by the cars, including a Great Egret, a Snowy Egret, a pair of White-Faced Ibises, and — what most people drove right past and didn’t see because he was well camouflaged – a juvenile Black-Crowned Night Heron. The herons sleep all day and hunt at night, so this guy was dozing away, opening his eyes only briefly to look at the cars as they went by. I can’t believe he got any decent sleep there…
Because of the cold (it was between 48° and 51° while I was out there) a lot of the birds were hunkered down to keep warm, and it seemed like the hawks in the trees were all snuggled in between branches where they were difficult to see or photograph. I saw two Bald Eagles while I was out there. One of them was so far away I only got a blurry picture of him. The other was closer (within about 20 feet), but was up in a tree where, again, the branches obscured it a lot. So, although I got a few close-ups of that one, they all had twigs and branches messing up the view…
I was happy, however, to get some fairly good shots of Bufflehead ducks in the water. I never seem to be able to get any good photos of them because they’re usually so far away. But today a couple of them came up closer to the edge of the auto-tour road while they foraged for food, so I was able to get a few clear shots.
I only made the pass through the refuge once, and headed straight home after that because the Dramamine was starting to wear off and I was feeling a little bit woozy. I got home a little after noon, and put in a post roast in the slow cooker (set on “high” though, so it only took a few hours to cook properly), and made a batch of brownies before crashing for the day.
It was nice to get outside.