Oh, I had fun today! Today was the first day of Spring Break, and the first chance I've had to bird for a couple of weeks. Our whole family was waylaid by a really nasty cold, and between taking care of sick babies and then catching the cold from them I just haven't been able to get out for about three weeks. But today I saw some really exciting "new" birds.
My friend called me last week to tell me she had seen a Long-tailed Duck at the Bird Preserve. Unfortunately, I couldn't go out and since I hadn't heard any more I assumed that it had left. But today another, or possibly the same, Long-tailed Duck was seen on Pond 6. It took a couple of tries to find it, but I eventually did and even got a picture. (I did have to blow it up on the computer, though.) I was especially excited because it is rarely seen at the Bird Preserve. It's only the second one I've seen at the Bird Preserve in 8 years. This male was kind of difficult to observe because he kept diving, but he is really stunning. They don't show well in my photo, but he has a long black feathers that come out of his tale.
And as if one rare bird wasn't enough, I saw a juvenile Golden Eagle! It has been several years since I saw one at the Bird Preserve. I was so surprised that I forgot to even try to take a picture and before I knew it he was gone. I also saw two other "new" birds: a Turkey Vulture, and a Black-chinned Hummingbird.
I also saw this family of Canada Geese, there were 5 goslings. It looked like they were walking down the road and then the goslings needed to take a break. I had mixed feelings at seeing these little ones; geese have started nesting at the Bird Preserve just in the last few years, and the goslings usually don't survive. Geese are vegetarian grazers, and while the adults can get by on the tough desert plants, the goslings haven't been as fortunate. While I wouldn't want to see the Bird Preserve taken over by geese, my mom instincts were kicking in and I wanted to go over and gather them up and find them a nice green lawn. (Of course their parents probably would have pecked my head off if I had done that.)
I saw several Mallards with babies in tow. This little guy was teeny. His mother had her babies foraging near the beach on Pond 1 and they were so tiny that they must have hatched very recently. They are so cute, and it always amazes me how tough they are. They just hatch and a few hours later they are swimming around, foraging for their own dinner.