I got up around 6:30 this morning, and was out the door by 7:00 am with my friend Roxanne to go look for Burrowing Owls in Davis. It was breezy and cold, in the high 30’s, in the morning, got more densely overcast by the midafternoon, and then turned sunny by the late afternoon.
We went over to the Wildhorse Ag Buffer because there had been multiple reports that Burrowing Owls had been spotted along the trail there. I had never been to the place before, so I was just going by an eBird sighting to try to find the location where the owls had been seen. We parked in the parking lot and took what we thought was a sidewalk along the back of the houses in the neighborhood, not realizing that the paved path was actually a golf cart route for the golf course there.
So, we were getting a lot of dirty looks as we walked along, and finally a guy drove up in a cart and asked if we wanted to get hit by golf balls. Rox quipped that a hit in the head might be helpful. Hah! The guy laughed. Then he said that we were walking right near where golfers who tee off often hit their balls, and pedestrians weren’t supposed to be walking there. We told him we were looking for the ag buffer, and he pointed ahead of us and said it was over there. He let us continue on our way, but said we’d need to walk back through the neighborhood to get back to the car.
We did eventually get to the ag buffer path which sits between the golf course and an area of protected special habitat that runs alongside some agricultural property.
When we got to where the owls had previously been sighted, we were angry to find an incredibly stupid and selfish man letting his dog run through the area unleashed. The dog was posturing, threatening us and barking, and the owner didn’t even look at it; he kept walking along looking straight ahead, pretending he didn’t know what was going on. The weather may have been a factor in keeping the owls aground, but I’m certain the dog running back and forth over the spots where their burrows were, barking and growling, pretty much made certain that we would not see the owls this morning.
So, that part of the trip was pretty much a bust. However, Rox and I are of the mindset that we are willing to note whatever Nature wants to show us at any given place on any given day, so we were still grateful for the walk. Along the way, we saw several species of songbirds, and also saw a Kite, a Kestrel and a young Cooper’s Hawk. I think, under better weather conditions we would have seen a lot more. We also know, now, where the buffer is and can get to it more easily without trespassing on the golf course again.
CLICK HERE for the full album of photos.
As we were walking back to the car, we checked out the expensive properties there (over a million $ or more), and took photos of some of the plants in their front yards along the sidewalk. One of the oddest things, to me, was seeing a Buddha’s Hand citron tree heavy with fruit. The fruit looks like a big yellow octopus with fat legs. Rox knew what they were, but I had never seen them before. So weird!
The walk there was over a mile, so I was able to count it as hike #12 on my #52HikeChallenge. Yay!
When we got back to the car, we decided to head over to the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area. It was darkly overcast and a bit windy there, so, once again we were kind of thwarted as to how many birds we could see, but we still managed to see quite a few hawks, herons and egrets, and a smattering of different species of ducks.
We came across a flock of Coots, and found some of them doing that same side-face dirt digging behavior we’d seen before (at a different location). Where they turn their heads sideways to the ground and scoop up dirt with the side of their bill. Trying to get gravel for their crops, I think.
We drove the auto-tour route and then headed back home and were back at the house by about 1:00 pm.
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
- American Mistletoe, Phoradendron leucarpum
- American Robin, Turdus migratorius
- Anna’s Hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Belted Kingfisher, Megaceryle alcyon
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Bladderpod, Peritoma arborea [kind of looks like Jerusalem sage but gets bladder-like seed pods]
- Broadleaf Cattail, Bullrush, Typha latifolia
- Buddha’s Hand, Citrus medica sarcodactylis
- Bufflehead Duck, Bucephala albeola
- Bull Thistle, Cirsium vulgare
- Candleflame Lichen, Candelaria concolor [bright yellow-orange]
- Carrot, American Wild Carrot, Daucus pusillus
- Common Gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- Cooper’s Hawk, Acipiter cooperii
- Coyote Brush Bud Gall midge, Rhopalomyia californica
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Desert Cottontail Rabbit, Sylvilagus audubonii
- Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris
- Golden-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Green-Winged Teal, Anas carolinensis
- Narrowleaf Cattail, Cattail, Typha angustifolia
- Northern Flicker, Colaptes auratus
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Northern Pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Oak Apple, California Gall Wasp, Andricus quercuscalifornicus
- Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus
- Pointleaf Manzanita, Arctostaphylos pungens [small leaves and flowers]
- Red-Shouldered Hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Regulus calendula
- Say’s Phoebe, Sayornis saya
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Valley Oak, Quercus lobata
- Western Bluebird, Sialia Mexicana
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- White Tailed Kite, Elanus leucurus
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys