February 1, 2015 we loaded up the car and headed south. Nephew Collin, who lives in San Francisco, had graciously offered his weekend cottage (more like a mansion) in Healdsburg for a week. Our little townhouse at home will not feel the same after staying here. The first night we stayed in Medford Oregon. This made for a six hour trip to Healdsburg the next day but Colusa wildlife reserve was on our way. A Falcated Duck has been reported here so we made a side trip. After spending about an hour searching and talking to other like-minded birders, we ascertained the Falcated was not to be found that day. On to Healdsburg.
Bodega Bay was listed as a great place for birds so we hit it Feb 10. The reports were right on. Birds abound here and I wish we could have had more time to explore it further. Here are some of what we did see.
|California Towhee Colusa|
|Black-tailed Jackrabbit Colusa|
|Snowy Egret Colusa|
|White-faced Ibis Colusa|
|White-fronted Geese Colusa|
|Black-crowned Night Herons Colusa|
|The bushes were dripping with Black-crowned Night Herons. This is only a small section.|
|Another bird we wanted to see was a Brown Booby. One had been reported at Point Reyes. After finding the Rustic Bunting we headed there. Here is the trail leading to Chimney Rock where the bird was seen. It is about a mile long.|
|Chimney Rock. We were talking to some girls there and told them what we were after. One of them had binoculars and said "is that it?"|
|Yes, she had picked it out. It is the brown one behind the Pelicans. This picture is highly cropped.|
|While checking this picture when I got home, I see there is another one in the upper left hand corner. It is barely visible. It isn't often I get to see 2 boobies in one day. (Wait a minute).|
|On the beaches below the trail, Elephant Seals were numerous. This bull is battle scarred.|
|Dian on the return hike.|
|February 4 we drove through the Napa Valley vineyards to Putah Creek Wildlife area. Ebird states it is a good place to find Wrentits and Nuttall's Woodpecker.|
|A scene from Solano Lake Park along Putah Creek where we found the following birds.|
|A Hermit Thrush greeted us at the Putah rest area.|
|It wasn't long before we spotted a male Nuttall's Woodpecker.|
|A female Nuttall's was close by.|
|Oak Titmice were common.|
|An obliging Wrentit appeared. Another check on our life list.|
|This goose was mostly Canada but I do believe a White-fronted Goose may have jumped in there when no one was looking.|
|We stayed close to home on Feb 5. A Hutton's Vireo was the only bird we photographed but we saw a White-tailed Kite In the distance.|
|Another picture of the Vireo? No, it is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet to show the similarities with the Hutton's Vireo. Note thinner bill, dark lores|
|Some Black Turnstones were gleaning the shore behind a restaurant. Bits of seafood were being discharged from the restaurant and the birds were taking advantage of the bonanza.|
|2 Ruddy Turnstones also reaped the bounty.|
|Having only seen Snowy Plovers once before in Texas we were happy to find 35 on the beach at Bodega. This one was ringed. I reported it and will disclose the findings in a future blog when I get a reply.|
|There had to be over 1000 Marbled Godwits around Bodega Bay. The most I have ever witnessed.|
|An Elephant Seal was providing a feast for the Turkey Vultures.|
|Brants were very common on Bodega Bay.|
While in California we heard reports of a Common Scoter in Crescent City. We detoured there Feb. 11 on our way home.
|This bird is usually found in Europe and Asia and may be the first recorded sighting for North America.|
|At the same location a Long-tailed Duck was escorted by some Surf Scoters. The Long-tailed Duck was right at home with the Surf Scoters, unlike the Common Scoter which always remained apart from the other seabirds.|
We spent 9 days birding north of San Francisco and we didn't get to see all we wanted to see. We made 2 more futile trips to Colusa to find the Falcated Duck. One day we missed it by ten minutes. 3 of the 9 days we had rain. That only means one thing-we have to return and we can't wait.
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