Great early evening birding @ Byxbee Park, Palo Alto

Today was my first proper birding outing of the new year, and it turned out to be a cracking one!

Rather than my usual walk around Palo Alto Baylands, I decided to go to nearby ByxbeePark, as a Short-eared Owl had been reported there recently.

Sure enough, I walked to the top of the hills by the landfill and a group of birders were scoping the marshes trying to re-find the owl, which some had seen flying low earlier. A few minutes later another birder arrived and pointed out a lovely SHORT-EARED OWL perched on a fence. My 300mm lens, even with a 1.4x TC, was no help here, but I got a very good look at it through a generous fellow birder’s scope – what a lovely bird, and what a great lifer to start 2007 with!

Other highlights (for me) were a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, WHITE-TAILED KITE, and NORTHERN HARRIER. The last two, although not uncommon, are always a pleasure to watch.