New Year’s Day found Sarah, myself, and our friends Debey & Terry, with whom we spent a lovely and mellow NYE, hiking the trails in Marin Headlands.
On a chilly and rainy Friday, Sarah & I headed east to the Central Valley to see what was a’wing at Cosumnes River Reserve and the Isenberg Crane Reserve, two locations I’ve heard much about, but had not previously birded. The year’s end approaching, I wanted to add a few Central Valley specialties to my 2007 list. Eagles of both the Bald and Golden variety, Cranes, Swans, and several Geese occur in this area that rarely, if ever, are found in the immediate SF Bay Area.
Sarah & I had a lovely pair of mini-hikes on Dec 16 in the Marin Headlands, ahead of an incoming storm.
Tennessee Valley Trail
Our first hike was to Tennessee Valley, a lovely short hike that we hadn’t done in over a year, despite the trailhead being only a 15-minute drive over the Golden Gate. Brewer’s Blackbirds and Golden-crowned Sparrows foraged in the parking lot, but it was otherwise pretty quiet. The first quarter-mile of the trail was rather blustery, but things calmed down once we descended into the valley proper.
Last week’s class focused on Dowitchers, two devlishly-difficult birds to tell apart, although Dowitchers aren’t too difficult to tell from other shorebirds.
We first talked about Flood & Waverly, an area east of Stockton in California’s Central Valley that is known for having good birds. A classmate recently saw a Short-eared Owl, Ferruginous Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagle, and Golden Eagle in an afternoon (must’ve been nice!). Other areas of high raptor concentration include the Altamont Pass region (famous locally for its windmill farms, which are killing Golden Eagles), Grizzly Island, and Robinson Road in eastern Solano County, which is also a good place for Mountain Plovers.
We picked up on pg. 188 of the National Geographic Field Guide to North American Birds.
Yesterday was the final field trip of the fall semester of Joe Morlan’s Field Ornithology classes, and despite some chilly-for-California weather, it wound up being a great outing.
Can you name the 3 bird species in this photo? Click for a larger version.
We dug right in, continuing on page 186 of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America with Upland Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, and Ruff. Like many of the shorebirds we’ve been studying this semester, these are birds I have not personally seen, and which are fairly-to-very rare in the SF region.
(I’m rather behind on editing photos, reviewing restaurants, etc etc., so I’m going with minimal text on my birding reports for the time being!)
Sarah & I visited Point Lobos State Reserve, one of our favorite places on the planet, last Sunday, 11/18, and as always, had a lovely time, even though conditions didn’t permit much in the way of great photography.
View from our hotel room (w/a 420mm lens, anyways!)