Tag Archives: Black-Necked Stilts

Still Not a Lot of Variety Yet, 11-12-18

I got up around 7:00 am, fed the dog his breakfast, and then went out to the Cosumnes River Preserve for a walk. There was still a lot of smoke in the air from the Camp Fire.

The preserve still doesn’t have enough water in it, so it was something of a disappointment, but I did get to see several different species of birds including fly-overs of small flocks of Sandhill Cranes and Tundra Swans. In their Facebook posts, the preserve had been talking about large flocks of Snow Geese in the surrounding rice fields, but I didn’t see any.  There were loads of greater White-Fronted Geese, though.  I also saw a few

The Coots were out feeding near the viewing platform of the boardwalk area, and I got to do my naturalist thing when two older women walked up and asked me if the “black birds were Moor Hens”.  I told them about the Coots and the Gallinules (moorhens) and how they were different, and then was able to point out a Northern Pintail to them, and a Black Phoebe. So, they got a free lesson today.  There was also some kind Rail near the viewing platform, but she flew off into the tules before I could get a really good look at her.  Maybe a Virginia Rail, but I’m not sure. It seems early in the season to see one of those.

I also saw Red-Winged Blackbirds, Killdeer, and Black-Necked Stilts which are all kind of ubiquitous in the area, along with a few  White-Crowned Sparrows, Savannah Sparrows, Western Meadowlarks, Northern Shovelers, House Finches, Great Egrets, Cinnamon Teals, Green-Winged Teals, a Greater Yellowlegs, some American Pipits, two or three Wilson’s Snipes, Red-Tailed Hawks, a Red-Shouldered Hawk, some male Lesser Goldfinches, and Song Sparrows.

CLICK HERE for the album of photos.

I was surprised when a small flock of Cedar Waxwings flew in and occupied the oak trees along the slough for a while. They’re primarily berry-eaters, and there were no berries around the slough this time of year.

As I was leaving the boardwalk area of the preserve, I stopped to use the little outhouse there, and found a couple of female praying mantises that apparently had just laid their egg cases on the side of the building. I also found a mud bird’s nest (probably a Phoebe’s) and some wasps’ nests (both from Paper Wasps and Mud-Dauber Wasps). I walked for about 3 hours and then headed back home, getting there around noon.

So Many Tree Swallows, 03-25-18

I got up around 7:30 this morning and headed out with the dog to the Cosumnes River Preserve and William Land Park.

At the Cosumnes Preserve, I was surprised to see dozens of Tree Swallows flying all over the place and congregating in large numbers among the tules and on the road! I guess they were sitting on the road to get warm, but I’d never seen Tree Swallows do that before. There were adults and juveniles in the mix. Because there were so many of the Swallows around, lots of the photos I took there had photo-bombing Swallows in them.

CLICK HERE to see the album of photos.

I walked along the boardwalk and around an adjacent pond, and saw a few birds (maybe about 18 species). There were a lot of Long-Billed Dowitchers “slumming” with the ducks, Killdeer, and other shorebirds; and the tiny Marsh Wrens were singing their buzzy songs from both sides of the boardwalk.

I was there for about 90 minutes and then headed to William Land Park.

Vacation Day #7: Friday the 13th at the Wildlife Refuge

Friday the 13th. DAY SEVEN OF MY FALL VACATION… I got up around 6:30 am and headed out to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge. The weather was lovely all day: 43º when I left the house and around 73º when I got home.  I thought it was going to be really smoky by the preserve, but the air was mostly clear; just a tiny bit of haze in the air.

At the refuge, I wanted to see how far along they were in flooding their seasonal wetland areas, and if there were any birds migrating in yet. The first half of the auto tour was pretty much “dry”, and the extension loop to the permanent wetlands was closed, so I thought the day was going to be a bust. But then I found a few areas where the water was creeping in, and the birds with it.

CLICK HERE for the full album of photos and video snippets.

In one spot, where the slough runs parallel to the auto-tour route, I saw a Great Egret, a young Black-Crowned Night Heron, a Snowy Egret and an American Bittern feeding in the vegetation along and in the slough.

The Greater White-Fronted Geese were starting to move in and there were quite a few large flocks of them, and some flocks of Snow Geese as well… but the numbers aren’t at their maximum yet.  I also saw some Mallards and some Northern Shoveler ducks, but none of the other breeds that usually occupy the refuge… Those should show up over the next few months.  One species I saw quite a few of was the Wilson’s Snipe. I was kind of surprised by how many I saw…

I found the Great Horned Owl twins sitting up in a tree along the route, but they were deep in the shade in the high branches, so it was difficult to get a clear photos of them. I got a few shots, but they’re only so-so…

I saw a California Ground Squirrel snatch the head off of a teasel thistle. Those teasel heads are HARD and super-prickly – they used to be used to comb textiles.  I was really impressed by how deftly the squirrel was able to pluck it off the stem and then strip it down to get at the seeds.

I didn’t see a lot of hawks, but I did see a Northern Harrier doing its strafing run along the ground, and a Red-Tailed Hawk sitting on one of the small “islands” in the shallow water…

I spent about 3½ at the refuge and then headed home.