“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 40 - Bird Refuge

This morning I had time for a relatively short outing, so it would have to be close to home.

Yesterday I was made aware of a recent report in the local news of a Burrowing Owl that was hanging around at the local TV station - close to our house even!  This is a species I have not yet managed to find in Santa Barbara County, so it would be quite nice if I could find it so easily and close to home.  I stopped by the station, but could not locate the owl.  The morning light was terrible in this location, so I may return late one afternoon to search again.

I continued on to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.  There have been some reports from here recently of birds that I have not yet encountered this year, including Sora (a small rail-like bird that likes to hide in the reeds).

The Bird Refuge seemed a bit quiet this morning, and I noticed a distinct lack of diversity in the duck population - almost all the ducks I could see were Ruddy Ducks.

I walked down the North shore of the water, scanning the reeds for a Sora.  I KNOW they are here, for in addition to the recent reports I have seen them here myself as recently as November.  They simply were not cooperating.

I reached the end of the path, and found a pair of Cinnamon Teal resting and preening.  Just then I heard the distinctive call of a Virgina Rail and saw the small dark bird dart into the reeds.  Now that was a nice surprise!  I got my camera out, but true to form the Rail stayed hidden in the reeds.  That's what they generally do, and I have never managed a photo of one.  This was a species I had listed as possible for the year, so it was really nice to encounter one this morning.

This part of the Bird Refuge is quite close to the Santa Barbara Zoo.  I could see a California Condor in the enclosure with wings outstretched basking in the morning sun.  I imagined seeing such a magnificent sight in the wild and wide open spaces of California, Arizona, Utah, or Baja - maybe someday I will have the opportunity.

I continued to scan the reeds for a Sora, but none were cooperating.  As a consolation I spotted a Green Heron standing along the edge of the water.  Another species added to the year's list!  This one was too far away for a photo.  Hopefully I will get a closer encounter with one later in the year.

By this time I needed to head back home, so the morning's adventure came to an end.  I leave you with a couple of photos from this morning, as well as one of a Green Heron from last month in Florida - they really are handsome birds.

Great Blue Heron

 Say's Phoebe

Green Heron, Merritt Island Florida January 2015

After the addition of today's 2 species, the year's total stands at 167. 

Today I rode 11.6 miles

More later,

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