Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Field Notes 5.9.12

Since we were going to Monte Vista for the monthly Friends of the Refuges meeting we decided to leave early, stop at Home Lake, pick up a couple of sub sandwiches for a picnic at Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and then head to the meeting.

We knew that double-crested cormorants had been seen at Home Lake and we were hoping to see them ourselves. The lake was full of western grebes, blue-winged teals, coots and mallards. A white domestic duck paddling on the lake looked odd with its colorful wild brethren. We also saw Wilson’s phalaropes, American avocets and a sandpiper that was too far out to get a good I.D. We were puzzled by a gull but after a long look and a check of our Sibley’s guide we identified it as a California gull.

It was time to move on and we had yet to see a double-crested cormorant but just before leaving Diane spied two cormorants high in the trees. As we watched one dropped down, glided over the water and landed without a splash.
At the Monte Vista NWR we ate at the picnic table near the walking trail. Our dinner music was The Blackbird (red-winged and yellow-headed) Serenade. Beside the auto loop we saw an American bittern with its beak stretched high. Avocets, mallards, teals and coots floated on the water.
At the south slough we saw a black-crowned night heron perched on the water’s edge. With barely enough time to get to the meeting we spotted a great horned owl on a telephone pole as we drove north to Monte Vista.

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