I got up around 6:30 this morning, and turned on some lights in the kitchen and on the back porch so Waukegan could see well enough to use the doggie door and get outside. Since I was up, I decided to stay up, and around 7:00 headed out with Sergeant Margie to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge again. It was sunny but chilly all day; 34° when I left the house… It was really clear outside and all of the mountains were out, some with new snow on them. The drive is a long one (about 90-minutes each way), but the nice weather makes it a lot easier.
I did the auto tour but didn’t walk any of the trails there (in part so I could keep the heater running in the car while I viewed the wildlife. Hah!) I found the American Bittern again (in a different pond than I’d seen him in before), and when I was stopped taking photos of it, two otters climbed out of the water and ran across the path in front of me to the pond on the opposite side! There was also a pairs of American Coots, that stepped out of the water near me. They didn’t notice the car at first, so they came close enough for me to get some shots of their feet (which is their most interesting feature; they have lobed-toes). When they realized the car was sitting there, they looked shocked and scuttled back into the water. I also came across another Coot who was eating the intestines of some other critter. They’re omnivorous; I’d seen Coots eating seeds and bugs and whatnot, but never saw one eating “meat” before. I took some video of that one.
I saw lots of Bald Eagles today including three adults and two juveniles (that looked like they were a year or two old). One of the adults flew into a tree and perched above the road… then pooped on the car. Hah! How rude! I also saw lots of the Red-Tailed Hawks, a Red-Shouldered Hawk and a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon along with White-Crowned Sparrows, Turkey Vultures, Northern Shovelers, White-Faced Ibis, Meadowlarks, White-Fronted Geese, Snow Geese, Ring-Necked Ducks, Black Phoebes, Ruddy Ducks, Bufflehead Ducks, Ravens, Green Teals, Mallards, some Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Pintail Ducks, etc.
After the tour, I took Sergeant Margie on a short walk and we had some lunch before heading back to Sacramento.