10 December 2011

Already December

If you don't check my Flickr page, many of these images from the last week will be new to you.

Last weekend we took a hike up along Cache Creek in Yolo County.  Pretty neat country!  We heard/saw things like VARIED THRUSH, CALIFORNIA THRASHER, and RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS.  

In addition, we had great looks (which aren't all that common) of a WRENTIT:

The common CALIFORNIA TOWHEES were abundant.  This one perched in nice light for a few seconds:

Later in the day we spun down through Solano County to look for various open-country birds.  Our best sighting was this ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK which was my first of the fall:

If you spend much time in the Delta, pishing at most thickets will pull out GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROWS:

Another bird that is hard to miss are the many SANDHILL CRANES.  Here is a particularly tame one:

NORTHERN HARRIERS seem to be the most common raptor where I spend my time working.  Here is one that was soaring around me:

RED-TAILED HAWKS are also common.  This one was being pestered by a PEREGRINE FALCON which resulted in some pretty amusing interaction poses:

I've really enjoyed being around shorebirds this late in the winter.  I've essentially lived my whole life in places that had no winter shorebirds.  One day this past week I tallied 11 species of shorebirds including this WILSON'S SNIPE:

... and this LEAST SANDPIPER:

The many canals around here host many AMERICAN COOTS and various grebes.  This is a HORNED GREBE:

By far the most common winter warbler here are YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS:

Not entirely abundant but not all that rare either are COMMON GALLINULES:

The biggest highlight for us this month so far was seeing the FALCATED DUCK up at Colusa NWR in Colusa County.  This ABA Code-4 bird was a lifer for both of us and would represent the 3rd state record for California (pending acceptance).  The looks were very distant and the pictures are of a very poor quality (the duck is the sleeping bird in the back with the silver mantle):

Working around here near dusk provides some nice photo opportunities.  Of course, this is only taken with my phone, nothing fancier: