When I first started this “green” birding year experiment I estimated that I would see 230/240 birds. In a fit of madness with things going so well I stated that maybe 260 was possible. This last Wednesday I reached the 240 number. It was during my wait time as a driver for the Lodge at the Woods that I was able to spend about 40 minutes at Lake Cleone. This picture of Lake Cleone was the first picture I used in a post.
The lake has been busy lately with sightings of American Bittern, Canvasbacks, and Eurasian Wigeon posted on the local bird site. I first went to see if I could find the Bittern. No luck! I’m sort of glad about not finding it because number 240 was what I think is the most striking of all ducks, the Canvasback. My picture below doesn’t do it justice because I was shooting into some glare. Check it out in a bird guide.
Not wanting to stop at 240 I found the Eurasian Wigeon that was found by birder, Steve Stump earlier in the week.
According to Wikipedia, “It breeds in the northernmost areas of Europe and Asia. It is the Old World counterpart of North America’s American Wigeon. It is strongly migratory and winters further south than its breeding range…It can be found as an uncommon winter visitor in the United States on the mid-Atlantic and Pacific coasts. It is a rare visitor to the rest of the United States.”
This bird is in between nonbreeding and breeding plumage.
Total as of this Wednesday are 241 birds with over 2538 carbon producing truck miles saved.
Not much happening as far as my birding this week. On Thursday I went to Lake Cleone to try for an American Bittern that had been sighted there. No luck but it has been seen again at the same location. Bitterns can hid well. I stopped at Virgin Creek Beach on the way. While there I had the Peregrine Falcon experience again.
As you can see it flew right over me. There’s very little cropping done on this picture. It made a dive on three Long-billed Dowitchers but missed.
Found a pair of Northern Harriers in the reeds at Lake Cleone (might be why the Bittern wasn’t seen).
So I had a raptor (not rapture) day.
Friday was my wife’s birthday so I wisely didn’t do any birding.
Saturday I surveyed the Little River Airport. It was an ugly day, cold and foggy for most of the time I was there. I saw nothing new to add to my year list.
Still at 239 bird species with over 2538 carbon producing truck miles saved.
Friday I did my SOS Survey. It has been very slow at Virgin Creek this month. I was able to find 2 of the 3 Killdeer chicks I found last week. The third chick may have been there because they are hard to spot. They have grown. For the first time this year I wasn’t able to find a Whimbrel along the coast.
I went up to Lake Cleone for my apple and trail mix lunch. Found a Greater Scaup on the lake. At least I hope it’s a “Greater”. A Lesser Scaup had been reported two days earlier on Ebird. The chances that there were two different Scaups on the lake during the Summer are small so I’m thinking it’s the same bird. We will test my Scaupability talents:) (UPDATE:I have been assured by the local Ebird reviewer that it was a Lesser Scaup seen earlier (photo reviewed) so it seems that that just adds to our strange Summer as mention below.)
Birders in Mendocino are finding ducks that don’t normally spend the Summer here. There have been and still are Northern Pintails, Ring-necked Ducks, Buffleheads, and American Wigeon at the Ukiah Waste Treatment Plant (along with continuing White-faced Ibis). There has been a Hooded Merganser with 2 young at the Willit’s Waste Treatment Plant (along with a female Great-tailed Grackle feeding two fledglings). A Blue-winged Teal was seen at Virgin Creek. It’s been an unusual Summer so far.
As for the title of this post– behind my northern most bus stop in Fort Bragg is Holmes Fred Lumberyard. They seem to put out feed everyday that attract many Rock Pigeons, Blackbirds, Cowbirds, Starlings, House Sparrows, Eurasian Collared-Doves and White-crowned Sparrows. Last year there were Tricolored Blackbirds in the flock. I always take a look both coming from and going to my bus stop. I’ve alway thought that I would find something rare one of these days. On the way back from my survey I did just that. I spotted a very disheveled White-winged Dove with a flock of Rock Pigeons. The picture is not a great one. I was shooting from behind a chain-link fence from a distance. It was a Mendo first bird for me and the 218th year bird. Currently I have saved over 1412 car miles. It proves that you can find good birds during a “green” year.
After posting I realized that I had another picture to add to this day of birding. There were hundreds of these red dragonflies in the Lake Cleone area of MacKerricher SP. I believe they are Red Skimmers. If I’m wrong please comment.
Yesterday I did my SOS Virgin Creek Survey. My truck was fixed so I was able to go back to my normal routine of driving my bike down to Mendocino to meet the bus there. Weather held up well, was sunny and not too windy. Was pleased to see lot’s of shorebirds this time. Found a rare winter Western Sandpiper (FOY) among the Sanderlings. Also had a Rock Sandpiper amongst the Black Turnstones and Surfbirds. Haven’t been finding many ROSA’s this winter. The attached picture is of the Haul Rd. It seemed strange to see these signs out there.They are doing extensive work on it. Must have something to do with electrical because Fort Bragg Electric had a truck out there.
Went on to Lake Cleone and walked around it. Found a “first of year” Orange-crowned Warbler. Adding that to the Downy Woodpecker I found today at the airport and I’m up to 144 species with over 462 miles saved.
At this time I’m trying to add my first picture to a post. It hasn’t been easy. The picture is of Lake Cleone which is part of MacKerricher State Park. It was taken with my Itouch. I usually go up to Lake Cleone after my SOS (Save Our Shorebirds) survey to take a look around.