14 March 2013

Gates Canyon

I ventured up into Gates Canyon midday today to see what was happening.  Gates Canyon is in Solano County and is about an hour west of here:

View Gates Canyon in a larger map

I started by revisiting the spot I saw a Northern Pygmy-Owl at last year.  No luck with the owl but the highlight of the day happened here all the same; a MOUNTAIN QUAIL start calling from the side of the canyon.  Although I never saw the bird, it was great to hear it and have it so close.  I don't think I've heard this species more than 5 times in my life.

There were other things around, of course, including this CALIFORNIA TOWHEE:

I don't get to spend too much time with ACORN WOODPECKERS living in the bottom of the Central Valley.  They CAN be found at a couple of spots but usually they stay up in the foothills and over on the coast. This bird seemed at home on a telephone pole:

Fitting into the same category is the STELLER'S JAY.  These don't occur in Sacramento County with any regularity:

And yes, even the WILD TURKEYS were enjoying the spring day with temps in the 80s:

I may have been more interested in what butterflies were around than what birds, in truth.  The nice warm temps seemed to really liven things up.

I ended the day with 11 species:

Western Tiger Swallowtail
Pipevine Swallowtail
Cabbage White
Pacific Orangetip
Orange Sulphur
Echo Azure
Mylitta Crescent
Mourning Cloak
Painted Lady
Common Ringlet
Propertius/Persius Duskywing



And here are two awful pictures of a flying PACIFIC ORANGETIP (this was actually a new species for me):