I caught up on my photos and worked on my website for part of the day, then got ready to leave for the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area with my friend Roxanne around 4:00 pm.
We were, again, specifically looking for the Yellow-headed Blackbirds that had been reported being there, and we wanted to check on the Great Horned Owl nest to make sure mama was still there. That time of day, I expected to see some flocks fly in, Night Herons, and other dusk dawn animals to be around, but there wasn’t anything that I thought I’d see.
I always told my naturalist students not to go out with a “single-species mindset”, because when you go out looking for something specific, you miss everything else, and if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you get disappointed and feel the trip was a “waste”. Well, I needed to take my own advice today, because I was frustrated and disappointed by not seeing what I wanted to see instead of cherishing the fact that I was actually able to get outside in nature with my buddy.
Apparently, this was a somewhat frustrating nature day all around for Roxanne. She’d taken her friend T. out to Jepson Prairie early today for one of their guided tours, and she said most of the stuff we’d seen on Monday were already gone: dried, shriveled, dead. She was really shocked.
Anyway, once we got to the preserve, we drove the regular auto tour loop around, and walked down part of one of the trails. We got a glimpse of an otter’s head in one of the muddier pools, and saw a Bittern jump up out of the tules and fly off, but no photos of those. We were getting so “desperate” for photos that we were taking photos of ladybeetles, grass, and other stuff. Hah!
We did find a few Greater Yellowlegs, White-Fronted Geese, Ibises, and ducks, but no large flocks anywhere. We could hear Marsh Wrens buzzing in the tules and saw a few of their nests, but the little buggers weren’t cooperating for photos.
CLICK HERE to see the full album of photos.
Likewise, we could hear Meadowlarks singing, but had trouble spotting them. Then one flew up in the weeds near the passenger side back door of the car, so I tilted my camera out the front window hoping to get some video of him singing. Miraculously, the video actually turned out.
There was one other surprise, too. Somehow I was able to spot a Sora peeking in out from between the tules in a stand quite far from the car. I got a few fuzzy photos of it.
It was nice to see mama Great Horned Owl sitting in her nest. The tree she chose is starting to leaf up. Pretty soon she and her nest will be obscured from sight from the road. Smart bird.
We left before it got too dark to see anything.
- American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
- American Coot, Fulica americana
- Black Mustard, Brassica nigra
- Black Phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Brewer’s Blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Bur Clover, Medicago polymorpha
- Cheeseweed Mallow, Malva parviflora
- Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera
- Common Checkered Skipper, Burnsius communis
- Crow, American Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Floating Water Primrose, Ludwigia peploides ssp. peploides
- Golden Paper Wasp, Polistes aurifer
- Great Egret, Ardea alba
- Great Horned Owl, Bubo virginianus
- Greater White-Fronted Goose, Anser albifrons
- Greater Yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Hollyhock Rust, Puccinia malvacearum
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferous
- Ladybeetle, Seven-Spotted Lady Beetle, Coccinella septempunctata
- Least Sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- Mallard Duck, Anas platyrhynchos
- Marsh Wren, Cistothorus palustris
- Mourning Dove, Zenaida macroura
- Northern Harrier, Marsh Hawk, Circus hudsonius
- Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Orange Sulphur Butterfly, Colias eurytheme
- Prostrate Knotweed, Polygonum aviculare [has tiny white flowers on the stem]
- Red-Tailed Hawk, Western Red-Tailed Hawk, Buteo jamaicensis calurus
- Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- River Otter, North American River Otter, Lontra canadensis
- Snowy Egret, Egretta thula
- Sora, Porzana carolina
- Tule, Common Tule, Schoenoplectus acutus
- Western Meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- White-Crowned Sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- White-Faced Ibis, Plegadis chihi
- Wild Mustard, Sinapis arvensis
- Willow, Salix sp.
- Yellow Sweetclover, Small Melilot, Melilotus indicus
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