First Trip to Staten Island Road, 12-23-19

I got up around 7:00 am.  I gave my dog Esteban his breakfast and then got us both ready to go out to Staten Island Road to see if we could find some Tundra Swans.  It was 44° F, overcast and foggy.  There was also a breeze that made the air feel a lot cooler than it was.

Start Time: 7:30 am
Start Temperature: 44º F
End Temperature: 49º F
Weather: Overcast, foggy, slight wind
Total Hours in the field (includes travel time): 4 hours
Kilometers Walked: 0 (drove)
Number of Individual Species Noted Today: 29

I took I-5 to the Cosumnes River Preserve, drove down Desmond Road and into the boardwalk parking lot. Esteban was with me, but he can’t get out of the car at the preserve, so whenever I got out to look around, he stayed inside where it was warm. Saw lots of cattle in their fields along with a variety of geese and ducks along the road, but just about nothing at the boardwalk area.

Charolais Cattle, Bos Taurus var. Charolais

Then we got back onto I5 and headed to Staten Island Road. You take the Thornton Road exit and turn right onto Walnut Grove Road.  Then you drive on to Staten Island, which is kind of easy to find because there’s a huge barn with silos near the turnoff.  It’s a straight line down through a lot of agricultural fields; and eventually the paved road gives way to a wide dirt road. 

I saw a handful of swans, but they were at a distance so I couldn’t get very good photos of them.  I noticed, too, that there were quite a few Canvasback Ducks hanging out with the swans, but again, they were so far away I couldn’t get any good shots of them either. It was nice to see both species, though. I don’t get to see them very often.

A fuzzy distant shot of Tundra Swans, Northern Shoveler Ducks and Canvasback Ducks.

The standout on the road were all the Sandhill Cranes.  There were small flocks of them in several of the fields; some very close to the road.  They were eating, dancing, flying and talking to one another in their gurgle-gravel voices.

Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis

CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.

The banded crane.

I was able to get both photos and some video snippets of them, including one with bands on its legs.  The right leg had a large red band on it with what looked like P33 printed on it, and three bands on the left leg: white, red and yellow.  When I got home, I posted my sighting with the International Crane Foundation (ICF) at THIS SITE along with some photos.  I’m not sure, but I think this one might have come from Southcentral Ontario. I’m hoping that ICF will let me know for sure where it was originally banded.

I also saw flocks of House Finches, Red-Winged Blackbirds and Brewer’s Blackbirds eating alongside the road.

Esteban and I were out in the field for about 3 hours and then headed back home.

Species List:

  • American Coot, Fulica Americana
  • Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  • Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  • California Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica
  • Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  • Canvasback Duck, Aythya valisineria
  • Charolais Cattle, Bos Taurus var. Charolais
  • Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
  • Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
  • Dark-Eyed Junco (Oregon morph), Junco hyemalis
  • Dunlin, Calidris alpine
  • Gold Dust Lichen, Chrysothrix candelaris
  • Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  • Great Egret, Ardea alba
  • Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
  • Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  • Green Shield Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata
  • Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
  • House Finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
  • Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  • Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  • Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  • Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  • Oak Titmouse, Baeolophus inornatus
  • Oakmoss Lichen, Evernia prunastri
  • Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  • Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
  • Tundra Swan, Cygnus columbianus
  • Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta