Stonesteps sunset

Friday, March 20, 2020

Get out of town

Sorry, your Hawaiian vacation will have to wait. I was still in my pajamas when my friend Beth called and asked if I wanted to go birding on the river. I told her to give me twenty minutes and I would meet her by the mailboxes.

I quickly shaved and brushed my teeth, a shower would have to wait. Threw some old clothes and old shoes on. At one point we would be fording a creek.

Beth got me into birding, not that I am in anyway a proficient or competent birder, but she and Ken have taught me what little I know.

She is a very knowledgeable and dedicated birder and can identify a huge number of birds by sound, a talent I totally lack.

She told me to bring my camera but it was a cloudy, funky day and I didn't expect much nor ultimately achieve much. I was worried that it would rain on the camera and brought my slicker but luckily we were spared.

Really just wanted an excuse to get a great hike in with my friend and maybe learn something. And I did.

We saw twenty six species, well really twenty seven eight as I saw what I think was a tree swallow but Beth thought it was too rare and unusual at this time at this location to put in the ebird report without further confirmation.

I admit that I get certain swallows and swifts mixed up, they are very fast and hard to pin down. I may have misidentified.

In addition Beth punked out and wouldn't report the Pacific flycatcher that she knows she heard and I heard. Her auditory skills are very impressive.

But birders are funny and you list an early visitor like that without a pic and people get weird.

We saw a lot of birds, nothing too unusual except for what I mentioned. Some good singers, yellowthroats and song sparrows, wrens and towhees. Beth espied these two turtles in the river.

And showed me the slide areas where the resident beavers were pulling the brush and logs into their dams. There's a lot of water in the Santa Margarita right now.


A beautiful lone male mallard dropped down and made our acquaintance.

Such a wonderful setting. If you have to shelter in place, you might as well do it out in nature.

Audubon's warbler

I love warblers. Beth said that most birders do, hence the physical condition called warbler neck, you are always craning trying to see them.

This one showed some very interesting flight behavior dropping down and then returning to his perch like a typical flycatcher.

We watched this Anna's hummingbird plunging down from great heights too and occasionally flashing its purple feathers.

I just couldn't find the right vantage or angle.

These birds are very poorly trained and it is always tough to get them to comply.

But we made due. Click on this one and look at the tiny tongue sticking out.

The old zoom is still quite capable once in a while.

High above, two hawks made lazy loops. I told Beth they were red tailed. I was wrong. I believe she was correct, they are red shouldered. Coopers? Broad winged? Shoot! Hey, they were really high up there.

Whoops.

It is of course not all birds and turtles. Lots of butterflies today, new blossoms of lupine and neat fungi.

Didn't really have the right lens on for the mycological view but I think you get the idea.


So finally, if you are feeling funked up from all the bad news, if life seems bleak and you feel like you are at the end of your branch like this guy?

Go outside. it will do you a world of good. Forget your troubles, you can find them later if you need to.

Remember the immortal words of the Jefferson Airplane - it don't mean shit to a tree.


(note: or to a hawk in a tree, caught the nesting red tailed on the way home. beth thinks it might actually be the male, it is so small. makes sense. honestly, I've never had parents share sitting duties to this degree, makes it tough.)

3 comments:

Ken Seals said...

Very nice, thanks!

Sanoguy said...

A little pice of paradise!

Deli guy said...

That’s how to spend confinement, great day. I was down there Tuesday and a couple walked by carrying their dog rattlesnake bite. Decided to keep my dog close by my side. Stay on the path.
Beautiful pictures thank you
. Deli guy