Tag Archives: fun stuff to do in Sacramento County

A Few Encounters at William Land Park

After work, it was so outside that I took Sergeant Margie over the middle pond at William Land Park for a short walk. You’ll never guess what I found there… Another Belted Kingfisher; a female this time. She was flitting back and forth between the pond and the surrounding trees. I watched her dive into the water from a tree at one point and come up with a fish. Then later, on a kind of strafing run along the top of the water she struck one…two…three times onto the surface and scooped up more fish. She was sooooooo fast! I got some photos of her, but they were still a little too distant for my liking. I’d still like to get some better close-ups (but it was nice to get as close as I did).
 
I also watched a Green Heron fishing along the side of the pond. The ducks kept annoying him, so he ran along the edge of the pond with his top-knot raised (like he was having a super-bad-hair-day).
 
As the dog and I were heading over to get a better view of the heron, we came across this guy with a 12-foot albino python wrapped around his shoulders! Oh, yeah, y;know, you see that every day. NOT! Hah! I asked him if I could take his picture, and he said yes, so… I snapped off a couple of shots.

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Muscovy Ducklings! (And Other Birds, Too.)

I actually intended to sleep in this morning, but Waukegan woke the whole house up scratching and banging her feet against the floor. Since I was then up anyway, I decided to get dressed and head out to William Land Park again – without the dog this time – to see if I could get some more bird shots. I love taking Sergeant Margie with me on walks, but sometimes he scares off the wildlife, so I went solo today.

I walked around both the middle pond and the large pond this morning. At the middle pond, the Green Heron and Great Blue Heron were back, so I got a lot of shots of them. I actually got some photos of the Green Heron catching fish which is always cool to watch. I also saw the female Belted Kingfisher again. She was high up at the top of a scraggy-looking pine tree, but I managed to get a few photos of her. I also got some photos of a squirrel and a hummingbird in the WPA Rock Garden.

At the large pond the big attraction was a Muscovy Duck with her brood of four ducklings: 3 yellow babies and one black one. While I was watching her, though, and getting photos of the babies, I was accosted by a new all-white Chinese Goose that stalked me for a while, then ran up and bit me in the stomach! Ouch! I took hold of her throat until she let go, and then I released her. Geese can’t do a whole lot of damage because they don’t have teeth, but… man!… that hard pinch hurt; and I’ll probably be a little black-and-blue. A guy walking his baby in a stroller came up and said that same goose had gotten him a few times. She’s brutal. I was wondering if she’s the “Princess” goose I watched grow up a couple of years ago. If she is, she grew up to be a major bitch! Hah! I was kind of glad I hadn’t brought Sergeant Margie with me; that goose would have scared the crap out of him.

Of the yellow ducklings, one of them had an all-pink bill and another had a little of an orange blush on the head. One of the yellow ones, too, was starting to sprout a black tail, so they should be really interesting looking when they grow up. The little black one was actually more like very dark brown with some yellow and white patches on its belly. So cute…

After getting more (and more) photos of the ducklings – I can’t resist taking photos of those little fuzzies – I kept walking around the perimeter of the pond. I got some pix of some resident Wood Ducks that were pairing off for the winter, and was surprised to hear the chatter-chatter-chatter of another Kingfisher.

I looked around and found it – a male this time – in a tree on the opposite side of the pond. He was pretty far away, but I managed to get some shots of him before he flew off chattering again. Those birds are soooo noisy!

There was also a group of juvenile Western Bluebirds around there, and a Ring-Billed Gull who was hanging around a Crow for a while… so I got a goodly amount of bird photos on my morning sojourn.

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I walked around for about 2 ½ hours and then headed back home.

Saturday at William Land Park

I was up around 6:00 again this morning, and headed out with the dog for a walk at William Land Park and the WPA Rock Garden.

As luck would have it I got to see more birds in the pond at the park today than I did at the nature preserve yesterday – including a Great Blue Heron, a Green Heron and a Belted Kingfisher.  The herons and Kingfisher were all looking for breakfast, and I think the county must’ve just stocked the pond with fry because I could see them jumping and splashing all over the place.  I didn’t get to see any of the birds catch any of the fish, though.  I got some good shots of the herons, but the Kingfisher was too far away and hiding up in a tree.  ((I got fuzzy images, but nothing good.))  Based on its markings it was female…  They’re so pretty; one of the few bird species in which the female is more colorful than the male.

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While we were walking around the pond, some golfer hit a wicked hook and his ball flew straight my head and into the water.  I was lucky it didn’t me – or ones of the ducks!  The golfer came by later looking for it and I told it was drown out in the middle of the pond.  His caddy laughed and said he’d never seen anyone do that before… The golfer wasn’t particularly amused, though.

This time of year, the plants in the WPA Rock Garden are on their last legs and battening down for the coming winter, to there weren’t a lot of flowers to see in there.  I was hoping to see some praying mantises, but I think it was still too chilly for them (they’d probably come out later in the afternoon).  The dog and I walked around for about 2 ½  hours then headed back home.

Zoo Day

Although I’ll have Fridays off for the foreseeable future (thanks to my new work schedule), my body was still awake at 5:00 am.  I slept in a little bit, but was still up around 7:00 am.  I eased into my morning and then took the opportunity to get over to the Sacramento Zoo.  (The “Banana Festival” is going to be in the adjoining William Land Park on Saturday and Sunday, so I figured I should get over to the zoo today so I miss the snarl of traffic and lack of parking spaces the festival is going to cause.)

I got to the zoo just as they opened at 9:00 am, and for the first couple hours I had it almost all to myself (there was just one other family there).  At the chimpanzee house, they’d turned on the overhead sprinklers to make it “rain” inside, and the chimps were NOT happy about that.  Hah!  Both of the orangutans were out – they like the hot muggy weather… I got to the giraffe enclosure just as they were coming out of their multi-story-tall house and heading for breakfast. The boy Masai Giraffe played football with an empty drum, and tried roll it with his head.  He’s so cute… There were two new small birds on display: some Southern White-Faced Owls and the Spur-Winged Lapwing… All of the lions weren’t out yet.  The daddy came out first, and then the mom poked her head out – and then closed the door on their enclosure keeping her and the cubs inside where the air conditioner was running.  Hah!  The male lion is soooo handsome and photogenic, though, that everyone loves to see him.  He poses beautifully, too… I got some photos of the White-Faced Saki eating an apple.  Wow, the teeth on that little guy!  …The Jaguar wasn’t out, but on top of his enclosure was a pair of big fat pigeons.  One kept grooming the other one – and I wondered if they were a mated pair…  Zookeepers have “salted” the Flamingo pen with fake eggs to try to entice the females to start laying.  One of the fake eggs was interesting enough to one of the females that she pushed it around a little bit and then say on it…

A little before 11 o’clock, I stopped to have an early lunch: French Dip sandwich, fries, and a beer… And right around that time was when all the stay-at-home moms arrived at the zoo with their hideous screaming kids.  I avoided them as much as possible, but when I went into the reptile house, they all packed in behind me.  I had to tell some of them to back off because I was trying to get pictures and they kept banging into me – while their stupid mothers just stood by against the wall on their cell phones.  Ugh!  By noon, I’d had enough of their annoying behavior, and I left.

 

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