Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mud flat march--Bodega Bay (#273-275)

We headed north out of SF, stopping for a bit in Sausalito, but mostly wanting to get over the coast. The plan was to avoid the 101 at all costs, but we heard from the car ahead of us that a big truck was blocking Highway 1 heading north. Since Hwy 1 is one lane each way with no shoulder, that meant nobody was going anywhere. So I sadly accepted that Point Reyes would not be happening (honestly, we wouldn't have had time to appreciate anyway--ideally you would want a full day there from what I hear). The 101 was slow going to, but we managed to cut over to the coast past the accident. This meant cutting through some farming country.

Red-tailed, I think
There was just a bit of sunlight left by the time we saw water at Bodega Bay...and I'd read somewhere that this was a great spot for birding. We limited ourselves to an hour and set out. It was pretty grey and little foggy--something we got really used later on in Oregon.

This area had a bit of trail before coming to a bridge and then some mud flats beside the trail. The first section was really active with lots of little birds eating seed pods on some plant that I'm not sure what it is. They were quick little things, darting around, making my job as a photographer quite difficult.

#273: Bushtit; Bodega Bay, California; August 2013

While not as numerous as the bushtits, I did see my first black phoebes too.

#274: Black Phoebe; Bodega Bay, California; August 2013

Juvenile black phoebe. Looks similar to American Redstart
In the mud flats we were treated to a few different elegant herons. I immediately though of the Great Egrets we have at home, and these were the same.

However, there were also much smaller white egrets. I was so happy to get a shot of the two of them side by side for comparison! The snowy egret was awesome--it's hard to describe how their feathers move in the air, but they are so graceful and elegant.
Then I got another shot with a Great Blue--the Great Egrets are similar in size.

Great Blues are majestic birds, no matter how many times you see them!
On the way out I spotted another birdie perched in the bush, and so glad I took a closer look. Check out the eyebrows on this guy!

#275: Western Scrub Jay; Bodega Bay, California; August 2013
Hmm. Super dark song sparrow maybe?

Eventually it was getting late and we still had a long way to go that day. Unfortunately it got dark and we missed seeing some of the coast because it was night, but what we saw was so spectacular. Eventually we made it to the Redwood forest where we stayed for the night. The people we stayed with (an amazing couple in their 80s with an awful lot of stories and an off the grid house surrounded by forest and their own garden) had a hummingbird feeder. Matt got up before me (as always) and caught a feeder visitor. Sadly I don't think I saw any of these. Darn it, I need to start getting up earlier! Our host said that only Ana's were around but now that' I'm looking at the book, it really seems to be a Rufous Hummingbird. I don't feel confident contradicting someone who sees them all the time, but I'm pretty certain. Anyone want to confirm?

While the redwoods were wonderful in their own way, they were pretty quiet bird-wise. Or at least we didn't see many. Maybe because the tree tops are soooooooooo high up.

Stay tuned...

1 comment:

dwaynejava said...

Jenna, great series of blog posts! I think the hummingbird may be an Allen's Hummingbird, as the Rufous Hummingbird is found a little more north of California generally (according to pg222 of Kaufmans' NA Birds Field Guide).