Very Windy Today, 03-12-20

I got up around 5:30 this morning and was out the door by 6:00 am with Esteban to go to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.  After stopping for gas, coffee and snacky stuff we got to the refuge around 8:00 am just as my friend and fellow naturalist Roxanne drove in.  It was about 49° when we arrived and there was a stiff wind blowing – which doesn’t bode well for birding.

I took Roxanne in my car through the auto tour route (with Esteban) so we could help each other spot birds and other critters.  I was limited in how many photos I could take because I’d forgotten to recharge the backup batteries for my camera. D’oh! 

All of the large flocks are gone now, but there are still smaller flocks and individual birds to see there.  The sightings and photo-taking would have been better of the wind wasn’t as strong.  Roxanne kept a list of the species we saw, though, and it was up to over 100 by the time we headed back home.

A very cooperative Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta, singing just outside the car door on the auto tour route.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.

There was nothing in the areas where the vernal pools normally are and only a few wildflowers, mostly fiddlenecks. We saw quite a few jackrabbits – including one that was hunkered down in a field; we at first mistook it for a rock — and lots of Northern Harriers in flight.  We also spotted an adult Bald Eagle flying, and got to see a juvenile sitting in a tree on the way out of the preserve. His back was to us, so we didn’t get to see a lot of him before we moved on.

Not a very good shot of a juvenile Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus. We figured he was around a year and a half to two years old.

We heard a lot of Marsh Wrens, but they kept themselves hidden, so I only got photos of one of the males singing and a few of their nests.

A male Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris. The males build several nests then sing (up to 18 per day)to attract females. The female then chooses which nest she likes the best.

It took us about four hours to get through the auto tour route there, then we went on to the Colusa National Wildlife Refuge to check out the birds there.  It was still very windy, and we didn’t see much of anything new there.  The Black Crowned Night Herons were in their regular day-roost spot, though, so we got to see and get a few photos of them.  By the time we were done at that refuge, it was a little after 2:00 pm. We ate a bit of lunch at the picnic tables there then headed home.

An adult Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

Got back to the house around 4:00 pm.  Phew! A long day!

Species List:

  1. American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
  2. American Coot, Fulica americana
  3. American Robin, Turdus migratorius
  4. American Wigeon, Anas Americana
  5. Arundo, Giant Reed, Arundo donax
  6. Audubon’s Warbler, Setophaga coronata auduboni
  7. Bald Eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
  8. Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Lotus corniculatus
  9. Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
  10. Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  11. Black-Necked Stilt, Himantopus mexicanus
  12. Black-Tailed Jackrabbit, Lepus californicus
  13. Blessed Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
  14. Blue Elderberry, Sambucus nigra cerulea
  15. Boxelder, Box Elder Tree, Acer negundo
  16. Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
  17. Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
  18. Bushtit, American Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus [nests]
  19. California Dock, Rumex californicus
  20. California Ground Squirrel, Otospermophilus beecheyi
  21. California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
  22. California Praying Mantis, Stagmomantis californica (smallest 2-2.5 inches) [ootheca]
  23. California Wild Rose, Rosa californica
  24. Canada Goose, Branta canadensis
  25. Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
  26. Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
  27. Columbian Black-Tailed Deer, Odocoileus hemionus columbianus
  28. Common Fiddleneck, Amsinckia menziesii
  29. Common Groundsel, Senecio vulgaris
  30. Common Mustard, Brassica rapa
  31. Common Raven, Corvus corax
  32. Common Stork’s-Bill, Red Stemmed Filaree, Erodium cicutarium
  33. Common Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum
  34. Coyote, Canis latrans [smooshed on the road]
  35. Double-Crested Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auratus [one from Alaska]
  36. European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
  37. Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare
  38. Field Mustard, Brassica rapa
  39. Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. Peploides
  40. Fremont’s Cottonwood, Populus fremontii
  41. Gadwall duck, Mareca Strepera
  42. Golden Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
  43. Goldfields, Lasthenia sp.
  44. Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
  45. Great Egret, Ardea alba
  46. Greater White-Fronted Goose, Tringa melanoleuca
  47. Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
  48. Great-Tailed Grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
  49. Green Alga (freshwater), Chlorophyta ssp.
  50. Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
  51. Himalayan (Armenian) Blackberry, Rubus armeniacus
  52. Interior Sandbar Willow, Salix interior
  53. Jointed Charlock, Wild Radish, Raphanus raphanistrum
  54. Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
  55. Lesser Goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
  56. Lincoln’s Sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
  57. Mallard duck, Anas platyrhynchos
  58. Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
  59. Milk Thistle, Blessed Milkthistle, Silybum marianum
  60. Mistletoe, American Mistletoe, Big Leaf Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
  61. Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
  62. Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
  63. Non-biting Midges, Family: Chironomidae
  64. Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
  65. Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
  66. Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
  67. Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
  68. Pacific Chorus Frog, Western Chorus Frog, Pseudacris triseriata
  69. Pacific Poison Oak, Toxicodendron diversilobum
  70. Pacific Pond Turtle, Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys marorata
  71. Paper Wasp, European Paper Wasp, Polistes dominula [individual queens and nests]
  72. Pied-Billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
  73. Pink Squirrel Grass, Hordeum jubatum [barley] ?
  74. Pink Squirrel-Tail Rye, Sitanion elymoides [formerly Elymus elymoides, CA native]
  75. Popcorn Flowers, Plagiobothrys sp.
  76. Prickly Sow Thistle, Sonchus asper
  77. Quail Bush, Big Saltbrush, Atriplex lentiformis
  78. Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
  79. Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
  80. Ring-Necked Duck, Aythya collaris
  81. Ring-Necked Pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
  82. Rio Grande Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo intermedia
  83. River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
  84. Sandbar Willow, Salix exigua var. hindsiana
  85. Savannah Sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
  86. Sheet Weaver Spiders, Family: Linyphiidae
  87. Shepherd’s-Purse, Capsella bursa-pastoris
  88. Snow Goose, Chen caerulescens
  89. Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
  90. Song Sparrow, Melospiza melodia
  91. Stork’s Bill, Broadleaf Filaree, Erodium botrys
  92. Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis [smelled; assume it’s this one]
  93. Swamp Smartweed, Persicara hydropiperoides
  94. Tall Flatsedge, Cyperus eragrostis
  95. Tree Swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
  96. Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
  97. Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura
  98. Valley Oak, Quercus lobate
  99. Velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti
  100. Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
  101. White Cabbage Butterfly, Pieris rapae
  102. White Horehound, Marrubium vulgare
  103. White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
  104. White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
  105. Yellow Starthistle, Centaurea solstitialis
  106. ?? Dragonfly
  107. ?? Gull
  108. ?? Small Blue Butterfly