Another nice late afternoon found me at the Palo Alto Baylands again, this time with plenty of light for a change! I didn’t see anything exotic, but it was fun to watch the Herons & Egrets doing their nesting activities.
There were several other photogs at the rookery by the Duck Pond when I arrived, and I talked with them for a bit while photographing the coming and going GREAT EGRETS. There were one or two SNOWY EGRETS, and perhaps a half-dozen BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS (BCNH) in the palm trees, with a dozen or two more BCNH in the trees near the ranger’s residence.
A domestic duck with what appeared to be a lot of MUSCOVY DUCK lineage was by the parking lot – although “mutt ducks” abound here, this was the first I’ve seen that looked muscovy-like. Otherwise around the pond was mostly SCAUP, RUDDY DUCK, BREWER’S BLACKBIRD, BROWN-HEADED COWBIRDS, RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD (who were singing up a storm!), HOUSE SPARROWS and RING-BILLED GULLS. As has been the case often, an ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD was on the west side of the Duck Pond.
I walked over to the mudflats on the other side of the entrance road and struck up a conversation with another photographer, who had found the best spot for getting fligbt photos of BCNH returning from their stick-gathering activities. I hung around there for a while – Ron was very helpful and had some good suggestions for improving my birds-in-flight technique (which frankly could stand a lot of improvement!). A large’ish flock of BONAPARTE’S GULLS were on the flats too, but far away, and as the evening wore on, they flew off to parts unknown. GREEN-WINGED TEAL and NORTHERN SHOVELER were abundant with the usual AMERICAN AVOCETS and BLACK-NECKED STILTS, and a few LONG-BILLED CURLEW and MARBLED GODWIT(MARGO) flew by to boot.
Returning to the car we decided to loop around the fennel patch by the ranger’s residence. Over a dozen BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER were in the waterway by the interpretive center, many actually with black bellies, and numerous PEEPS, AVOCETS, STILTS, DOWITCHERS and MARGOs were foraging in the mud.
All in all a nice day out – I got some pretty good BCNH flight photos, which I’ll post to my bird gallery later.