Monday, March 24, 2014

Update ver. 2

Well, in the week since that last post where I complained about not birding, I've gone birding three times. Yaaaaaay! ;) I couldn't be happier.

The first birding outing was on Thursday. I simply could not make it to spring break without going on another hike. Soooo I very subtly skipped a morning class and hiked on the trails for a few hours. It was AMAZING. Unfortunately my camera battery died very quickly into the trip - all I have are a few pictures of this very cute crow who was gathering what seemed to be nest material.

If you're wondering what it's collecting from, that's a net surrounding a beach volleyball court. This was one resourceful crow parent. Although I don't have any pictures from the rest of the trip, I can assure you that it was amazing. I saw Chestnut-backed Chickadees and Golden-crowned Sparrows super close up, heard Oak Titmice calling in the trees, and found Wrentits, House Wrens, and Lesser Goldfinches at the top of the hill. These were the best 3 hours I could have possibly hoped for. And it was totally worth missing class.

Then, I came home!! It's so strange to be home again, but I love it. My dad and I went out the very first morning of my break - there was no time to waste! This was another wonderful morning. I didn't know what to expect in terms of migration. What we found was a fantastic mix of the remaining winter ducks (Northern Pintails, Northern Shovelers, some American Wigeon) and the first summer shorebirds (some peeps, likely Western and Least Sandpipers, were scattered over the mudflats). And the Red-winged Blackbirds were going CRAZY!

It's that time of the year for these male blackbirds... Time to flaunt all that they've got and pray it's enough to secure a territory and a mate. They're not kidding around!

Another favorite moment from this trip was this pair of Turkey Vultures that decided to take a break down on the fields.

I love Turkey Vultures a lot!! They're gorgeous, in a very "we eat dead animals" kind of way. It's a nice treat to see them down on the ground. Especially since they looked surprisingly colorful and pretty! The one on the right had an especially big contrast between its black neck fluff, brown wings, and bold red head. What cuties!

Two other highlights from this trip were a flock of American White Pelicans (another favorite summer species of mine) flying over,

and a group of half a dozen Long-billed Curlews that flew into a field right next to our car.

Fluff fluff fluff.

Long-billed Curlews are a treat no matter how many times I've seen them. They're just so COOL.

That super quick run-through brings us to the last of my 3 birding trips, which was this morning! Remember in my last post, when I really sadly mentioned that I hadn't gotten to see White-crowned Sparrows very much? This morning was absolutely devoted to White-Crowns. There are a few bushes along my street that are packed with the darlings. I'm so happy that I could finally spend some quality time with this species. They sang like crazy, hopped in and out of the bushes, and did all kinds of sparrow shenanigans.

I am determined to go birding as many times as I can over this break, so you can bet there will be more pictures coming. ;) Thanks for joining me in this whirlwind overview of my past week!

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