Sunday, February 1, 2009

January 31

Saturday was nice and sunny at the Bird Preserve. There were lots of Green-winged Teal out, many of them whistling and displaying. Here's a short video of a large group of males displaying for just a couple of females. The males seem to flare their head feathers and stretch up into kind of a head-nod-tail-bob move. Towards the end of the video you can see a pair of Wood Ducks sail by in the background.

I added three birds to my year-to-date list: a Crissal Thrasher, Marsh Wren, and a Common Goldeneye. The Crissal Thrasher was half-way up a bush, tentatively singing. He probably knew it really isn't spring even though it felt like it. I've heard Marsh Wrens several times, but Saturday I saw one working its way along the reeds on one of the ponds. I was excited to find the Common Goldeneye. I've been trying to make sure I get as many of the waterfowl as I can while they are here; so when some friends tipped me off that they'd seen a Goldeneye on Pond 9, I went and looked for the duck first thing. I was with a couple of other birders and we couldn't find it anywhere, but we did get a fly by from a falcon. Later that day, I was on my way in to the visitors center and saw it really quickly between dives. I waited a minute for it to surface and got a better look, several pictures of the wake it left as it dove, and one kind of bad picture. I watched it for a few minutes and decided that we couldn't find it earlier because it was spending most of its time under water.

A Common Goldeneye between dives.

I ended up with 32 species for the day. I also saw a very fat and sassy looking coyote, a white-tailed antelope squirrel, and a small western fence lizard (I think -- I'm not really herpetologist material). I didn't see any shorebirds, although I heard others had seen a Greater Yellowlegs and a few peeps. The Northern Harriers were very active today, flying low over the ponds and appearing to drop down on prey several times. I also saw an Orange-Crowned Warbler, lots of Abert's Towhees, a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers, and no White-Crowned Sparrows.

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