Saturday, April 30, 2016

Going the extra mile...

The Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge has opened an extended portion of the auto tour called "Pool 2" through September. Let me tell you, I am delighted they did! This extra mile turned out to be the most beautiful part of the refuge and we saw a ton of wildlife!

This flock of pelicans and their cormorant friends was the highlight of our trip:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Furry Refuge Friends

Birds aren't the only thing we see when we go to the Refuge! This time, there were all sorts of critters out and about enjoying springtime.
Beechy Ground Squirrel
Black-tailed Deer
River Otter

I also saw some not-so-furry Western Pond Turtles lounging on a log. Their happy little smiles were one of the highlights of my trip :)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Give Me Refuge

These last few months I've been working like crazy to finish my latest book. (More about my writing life here.) When I finally finished the last chapter, I was feeling pretty drained and needed a little break before I started on the next book. Hubby knew exactly what I needed and so we gathered up the camera and binoculars and headed to the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge.

We couldn't have picked a more perfect time to go! (Although I think I say that every time!) All of the birds are in their brightest plumage for springtime and it was a joy to capture them on camera.

The refuge might be meant for the birds, but every time I'm there it feels like my own personal refuge where the beauty overwhelms me and I can go back home feeling refreshed and inspired.

Here is Part 1 of the best photos of the day:

Seconds after pulling into the auto tour, we saw this cute little killdeer...

The red-winged blackbirds were out in full force. Their flash of red is much more vibrant in spring. I think this is my favorite photo of the day because it looks like something out of a magazine...
Red-winged Blackbird

Every time I read something about how elusive bitterns are, it make me laugh because we've never had any trouble seeing them. This one was out in the middle of the road!
American Bittern

Meadowlarks have the most wonderful song. I could listen to the symphony of meadowlarks, red-winged blackbirds and bitterns all day long...
Western Meadowlark
Western Meadowlark
Brown-headed Cowbird

Over the course of the next week, I will post more photos from my trip, including the 50+ Cormorants we saw hanging out with a flock of Pelicans!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Flicker Fun

Here are some long lost photos I just came across! Last year, in the beginning of November, I saw a Northern Flicker in the yard. I have no idea why I didn't post these photos then, but here they are anyway!

The only reason I knew to look outside for it was because I heard it first. Kyeer, kyeer... I knew immediately it was something out of the ordinary because it's not a sound I hear every day.

 I snapped a few photos and then it was gone!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Don't Mock Me

Seeing a Mockingbird in the backyard isn't so unusual. Watching as one swoops down and has a look at what's on my patio is...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Identification: Unknown

Our latest trip to the Sacramento and Colusa National Wildlife Refuges was amazing as always. What isn't so amazing is how I never fail to capture a few photos of birds I can't for the life of me seem to identify.

This first one I asked the SNWR about and they suggested a female Brewer's Blackbird.

The rest, I can only guess. Even after pouring over my field guides (I must have at least a half a dozen of them!) and scouring the trusty internet, I can't seem to decide on a species for these guys.

I think this might be a juvenile Cooper's Hawk?

A Long-billed Dowitcher perhaps?
Or a Greater Yellowlegs?

I didn't get a photo of this guy's front, but from the back he looks like an American Pipit???

And lastly, here is an unknown sparrow.

Let me know if you know what any of them are for sure! I look forward to adding their true identities to my Big Year list...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Welcome Spring!

The Goldfinches have their bright yellow plumage back already! It's seems like just yesterday I was commenting how I didn't even know they had a dramatic change in color for the wintertime.

So refreshing to see a pop of yellow in the backyard...

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Rain Guard

Normally the hummingbirds keep an eye on their territory from the birdfeeder hook...

But when I went to take some pictures of how pretty the rain looked on the patio furniture,

 I noticed this hummingbird...

He obviously didn't want to stray too far from "his" feeder while it was raining.

Smart bird.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Come Back!!!

We saw a Hooded Oriole on the hummingbird feeder today! He was orange and awesome and only let us see him for a split second before he flew away. Man, I wish I would have been able to take a photo! Oh well, hopefully he comes back again soon...

We'll be watching for you, buddy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sittin' On the Fence

Whenever I see a House Sparrow, their White-crowned Sparrow buddies are never far behind...