Until I get back, here's what birding was like today! It was a fairly chill trip. Nothing tooooo exciting. But I enjoyed it.
Probably the most exciting bird was one that I didn't see. I spooked an owl! It moved too quickly for me to identify it, though. :/ This is a lesson from the universe to be more attentive while I'm birding.
My creek goes through constant transformation. In the past week, all of the fields have been shorn of their crops. The creek is being drained to irrigate the fields again. At this particular part of the creek, the water is about a foot lower than usual. That opened up a nice slice of mud for these Killdeer! I love their wing patterns. And if you look closely, you can see the red-tinged rump!
Farther down the creek, I spotted a small black and white bird up on a telephone wire. Its belly was too white to be a Black Phoebe, its silhouette was too stumpy to be a Northern Mockingbird, and it was too large to be a Tree Swallow. There's only one kind of bird like that out here... A Loggerhead Shrike! Shrikes are an uncommon treat. They're also skittish. After about 20 minutes of slow stalking, circuitous paths, and grumbling, I managed to get close enough for some pictures and sketches.
|Look at those patterns uuuugghhhh so pretty.|
Migration is upon us!!! One of my big goals for today was to see if the Swainson's Hawks are still around. I only saw one. It circled lazily above me, and I rejoiced... Until a White-tailed Kite zoomed in out of nowhere and buzzed the Swainson's out of sight. I couldn't begrudge the Kite, though. I mean, look how cute it is.
|Check out those red eyes!|
There were plenty of other raptors around, including this American Kestrel. This was either a female or a juvenile. Its back was plainly streaked, as opposed to male kestrels, which have dusty blue wings.