Thursday, December 9, 2010

cloudy, rainy, but filled with birds yesterday: Merced NWR

I forget how great the soundtrack is at this place in the winter. So many delightful honks and whistles and flapping sounds.

Cloudy darkish day, but nice. It did rain about halfway through, but the ducks and geese didn't seem to mind a bit. Click on this next pup to see lotsa geese.

black necked stilt

green-winged teal
cinnamon teal
blue-winged teal (well, I think I did, not certain....)

northern pintail
northern shoveler
white-faced ibis
snow geese/Ross' snow geese (hundreds)
white-crowned sparrow
golden-crowned sparrow
song sparrow
black phoebe
red-tailed hawk
red-shouldered hawk

somekinda sandpiper
somekinda dowicher?

Not the best pics, but SUCH a stylish bird!

What I did NOT see was a single sandhill crane, strangely enough.

Ooh, check out this "Nature's calendar" for figuring out what arrives when so you can plan your visit. Too cool! =) I think that's a GREAT idea for any public land where people go to check out "the nature."

Sometimes the simplest things are the most brilliant.

The calendar says large #s of cranes are visible in January, and in November says they arrive, and hang out in the grasslands, so until then they're apparently not super visible from the "auto route" at Merced NWR.

Ah, now I know.

New Year's Plans
I'm hoping we can do our New Year's drive down this old, old, narrow back road between Mariposa and Merced.

Last time we did this, we got down to these low, rolling hills, where pretty much each little hill was topped by either a bald eagle or a golden eagle. I thought my head would explode. It was INSANE!

So, we'll try and do that this year, and bring da Nikon. =)

Winter-only stuff to see where you are
Do you have any winter birding opportunities where you live? Other wildlife, plant or other nature viewing opportunities that are specific to this time of the year?

Picture from First Light

Our toyon (one of my favorite latin names of all time, Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries are out, so maybe I  should grab some and (gasp!) decorate with them to perk the place up.


By the way, I SERIOUSLY need some real lens so I can do more than take miles-away shots of, say, geese? And recommendations for a Nikon D50 owner hoping for better wildlife pics?

=) biobabbler

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