Topping off what has already been a busy-like-crazy day, I got up at the crack of dawn this morning and went out to Lake Crabtree to go birding.
I did an initial pass up to the boathouse, which was disappointing–bitterly cold, and nothing out but grumpy geese, the obligatory gulls, and one cute little spotted sandpiper. “Crud,” sez I, “it’s too damn cold.”
But then I strolled back the other way, came around a bend, and discovered that the recent rain had flooded part of the grassy lot there, making a temporary marsh, which was absolutely insane with waterfowl. Blue and Green-WInged Teals, lifers both, kildeer, more sandpipers, including a solitary (lifer) and of course, more geese. Red-winged blackbirds hung around doing the chh-OHHH-kaREEE! call that’s so distinctive, and swallows went zooming over the grass, including tree swallows (lifer) which were notable for being much brighter white on the belly than their other relatives. Bluebirds lurked on tops of poles, goldfinches and chipping sparrows went flitting through the trees, egrets and herons flapped overhead or lurked like ungainly assassins in the rushes–it was just a fabulous day to be out and alive and looking at birds.
My final and perhaps best score of the day was a wee little brown jobby that I stalked relentlessly for ten minutes. It preferred to run rather than fly, and it hung out in the grass, which it matched almost exactly. I chased that damn bird from clump to clump along the water’s edge until my binocular hand ached. I was pretty proud of myself when I finally got enough field marks to declare that I was lookin’ a Henslow’s Sparrow, which is both a lifer and a damn hard one to spot.
So it was a great morning all around.