I was out the door by 6:30 to go with my friend and fellow naturalist, Roxanne Moger, to the Cosumnes River Preserve. Roxanne was acting as chauffeur today, so she did all of the driving.
It was chilly there, in the 40s, crisp and clear; very autumnal. The sun was just starting to work its way up through the morning clouds and there was a bit of ground fog in some of the rice fields and pastures. Roxanne had never taken the short route around Bruceville and Desmond Roads near the preserve, so we went there first. There were flocks of Greater White-Fronted Geese and Canada Geese, and couple dozen or so Sandhill Cranes in the fields, so we got out of the car a couple of times to get some photos of them.
Morning “fly-in” hours are the best time to see the cranes in that area. There were both adults and juveniles in the groups. We saw a couple of Great Egrets and a Great Blue Heron out there as well.
In another field, we saw some Greater Yellowlegs walking around and a very large gull sitting on an outcropping watching a Northern Harrier eat its breakfast on the ground. There were actually a lot of hawk out today. On the preserve we saw both Northern Harriers and Red-Tailed Hawks, and along the freeway both going to the preserve and coming back home, we saw more Red-Tails and a Swainson’s hawk.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
There was a waning moon overhead, so tried to get some photos of birds flying past it. The White-Fronted Geese were the most “cooperative”. Whenever their flocks would startle and take off into the sky, I’d focus my camera on the moon and activate the shutter whenever birds passed by it. Got a few fairly good shots out of that exercise.
We walked along the boardwalk and the slough that runs along the road for about 2½ hours before heading back toward Sacramento. We saw eight hawks along the highway on the way there.
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Pipit, Anthus rubescens
- Ash Flower Gall Mite, Eriophyes fraxinivorus
- Black Angus Cattle, Bos Taurus var. Black Angus
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
- Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
- Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
- Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
- Club Gall Wasp, Xanthoteras clavuloides
- Gadwall duck, Mareca strepera
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Herring Gull, Larus argentatus
- House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris [heard]
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Pennyroyal, Penny Royal, Mentha pulegium
- Purpletop Vervain, Verbena bonariensis
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Rough Cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium
- Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
- Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
- Tricolored Blackbird, Agelaius tricolor
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Gull, Larus occidentalis (second winter, juvenile)
- White Ash, Fraxinus americana
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Willow Pine Cone Gall Midge, Rabdophaga strobiloides