Tuesday, 24 March 2009:
Taking advantage of the longer spring daylight hours, I stopped by the Palo Alto Baylands on my way home from work for a couple of hours.
Scaup sp. (Greater, I think)
As usual I parked at the Duck Pond and began by walking around it. It’s too early for the Great & Snowy Egrets to be nesting, but there were over a dozen Black-crowned Night Herons perched in the palms.
Duck Pond & in-progress eco center
Work on the new eco center doesn’t appear to have progressed any since my last visit in early February, but after a quick google search, this isn’t too surprising. The building has actually been moved a couple hundred feet, and they’re building a foundation at it’s old location before moving it back, pinning it down, and re-doing it.
Northern Shovelers (Female (L) & Male (R))
An artist’s interpretation of flying Northern Shovelers. Or maybe, just maybe, a misfocus.
Around the north side of the duck pond, the usual shorebirds were feeding in what little water was in the sloughs; it was a rather low tide! Numerous American Avocets, Northern Shovelers, Green-winged Teal, Marbled Godwitss, and a few Black-necked Stilts scooted to and fro.
Near the site of the new eco center a trio of Northern Mockingbirds flew noisily around, chasing one another. A little partner selection activity? Quite possible, as I have seen baby Mockingbirds here in the past.
Near the bridge by the interpretive center, more teal, avocets and stilts foraged, joined this time by a few American Wigeons and a Willet. With the very low tide, I didn’t bother looking very hard for Rails, since they’re hard enough to see when the water forces them out of the bushes!
American Avocets look rather comical head-on!
Finally at the eastern-most set of ponds, more avocets and stilts, but none doing anything that resembled nesting activity; it’s still too early for them.
Northern Shoveler feeding
North of the bridge were more of the same ducks, so I walked around the tall fennel patch toward the car.
Red-winged Blackbird calesthenics
The sun was low and I was walking pretty much straight into it, so I thought I’d try my hand at back-lit bird silhouettes. A few came out alright, but this subject demands more time and consideration before I’m totally happy with the results.
American Avocet silhouette
Marbled Godwit at sunset
Finally, just before 7, I arrived back at the car. This was another fine visit, netting a few year birds and some pretty good photographs. Stay tuned for an overload of Egret & Heron photos as the rookery becomes populated over the next few weeks!
Location: Palo Alto Baylands Observation date: 3/24/09 Number of species: 29 Canada Goose - Branta canadensis 4 American Wigeon - Anas americana 3 Mallard - Anas platyrhynchos 15 Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata 10 Green-winged Teal - Anas crecca 20 Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis 15 + Black-crowned Night-Heron - Nycticorax nycticorax 10 Red-tailed Hawk - Buteo jamaicensis 1 American Coot - Fulica americana 40 Black-necked Stilt - Himantopus mexicanus 15 American Avocet - Recurvirostra americana 75 + Willet - Tringa semipalmata 20 Marbled Godwit - Limosa fedoa 35 Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis 10 Western Gull - Larus occidentalis 1 Rock Pigeon - Columba livia 7 Mourning Dove - Zenaida macroura 4 Anna's Hummingbird - Calypte anna 5 Black Phoebe - Sayornis nigricans 3 + Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica 35 + Bushtit - Psaltriparus minimus 1 + Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos 3 European Starling - Sturnus vulgaris 3 Yellow-rumped Warbler - Dendroica coronata 3 Song Sparrow - Melospiza melodia 3 White-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia leucophrys 7 Golden-crowned Sparrow - Zonotrichia atricapilla 25 Red-winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus 12 Brewer's Blackbird - Euphagus cyanocephalus 6 + = year bird (70 to date) This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)