I'd like to start today's post by saying Hello to all my Facebook Friends. I see a lot of you coming over and checking out my blog. Feel free to book mark the blog, and check back often. I try to post once a week. You will find that not only am I an Antique Geek, but also a Bird Nerd. I write most of my posts about two things, antiques (and my wife's antique store) or about my birding trips with the kids. Occasionally I do post on vacations or out of town trips, but those are few and far between.
Today's' post is another Bird Nerd post. With both the kids sick, one getting better and the other just starting to get sick, I snuck out the house and went to one of my favorite birding spots here in the Sacramento Valley. The Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area is along the Pacific Flyway and a very important resting and breeding area for birds here on the west coast.
Today was one of the best trips out for me. The weather was very nice, I was able to get out while the sky was some what clear. We have had rain here for the past two days, and it looks like another storm is moving in again tonight.
Upon arrival to the area, I noticed quite a few more cars than I am accustomed to seeing. Apparently it is duck hunting season. Not being a duck hunter, I didn't realize it was hunting season. Now let me just say, hunting does not bother me. I don't hunt because I never had the opportunity, but had it presented itself, I am sure I would have gone. I do fish, so I am not against killing animals and eating them. Besides, believe it or not, if it wasn't for the duck hunters, most of the land at the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area would not be available to birders such as myself. It's through the hunters efforts of having some where to hunt and the fees that they pay, that people like me get to enjoy large areas of open land for birding. The end justifies the means in this case. The hunters hunt in areas that are off limits to visitors, so visiting now is still safe.
Once I started the auto tour, I could tell right away, that there were a lot more birds than when I was here on Christmas. I took the long route today on the auto tour. I also drove the truck because I figured it would be plenty muddy with all the rain.
Along the back side of the area, heading toward the hunters area, this American Kestrel paced me for quite a few minutes. He was just begging to get photographed. Unfortunately, most of the pictures came out dark. I tried to lighten them up, but they are not that great.
Just as I finished taking these pictures, I head about twenty feet and looked over to my right. There he was, just sitting in the trees, taking a nap. A great horned owl. Talk about making my day. I love raptors. I have never seen any owl while out birding, so this was definitely the highlight of my day and a great start to the new year. Again the photos are not that great, but I will post a couple anyway.After seeing the owl, I continued through the rest of the area. I saw some American Avocets in their winter plumage.
I spotted an American Wigeon in with some Northern Shovelers and Cinnamon Teals. The Wigeon is on the right end of the island. He has the green head with the with stripe on top. His bill is tucked in.
I also saw this Northern Harrier cruising along in the same area I saw one last time
This Northern Pintail was about the only decent picture I was able to get today.
This Western Meadow lark stopped and posed for me.
I spent about 3 hours out at Yolo today. On the way out this White-Tailed Kite was cruising the levee. I was able to take a few pictures of him.
I heard and saw this Killdeer at the bottom of the ramp as I came out of the Bypass.
On a side note, I didn't see all the black crowned night herons here that I saw at Christmas. They were near where the owl was at.
Well that was today's trip to the Yolo Basin Wildlife Area.
I took these pictures of some Purple Finches in the back yard.
Backyard update Sunday. As I was talking to my mom on the phone, a Sharp-Shinned Hawk landed on the back fence. At first I thought it was a Coopers Hawk, but after consulting my field guide,based on size and his tail shape, I believe he was a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. Here are some pics
He hung out for about 15 minutes, then flew up and through the trees chasing after a purple finch!
Thanks for stopping by