I should add some context about the target species. Mainly, HAWOs are actually super rare here in Sacramento County. So if you grew up in a part of the country, like I did, where all you had to do was to locate your nearest suet block to see them dripping off, you first have to wrap your head around that aspect. How rare are they? In eBird, they've only been seen in this county 3x in 2013, 1x in 2014, and then this February.
So, shortly after arriving on the shores of Lake Natoma, I heard geese overhead and when I saw them, I grabbed my camera. They were indeed "Aleutian" CACKLING GEESE. No biggie, right? Well, if you check eBird, you'll notice they're actually quite rare along the American River. I certainly had never seen them there and I'm not sure anyone has ever had them where I was. Anyway, so I took a photo because I figured they were uncommon enough (and yeah, I think getting proof of EVERY uncommon bird you report is really important). You can see the white collars on the necks:
I returned to the Gray Pine forest (near power pole #31) and slowly meandered in and around the big rock piles back in the trees. At one point I jumped, a big white bird of prey was flying through the woods. I had just accidentally scared a BARN OWL out of its daytime roosting spot (sorry buddy... but you WERE a year bird). Anyway, the male HAIRY WOODPECKER was super active again and calling frequently. I honed in and found him working one of the pines; here's proof: