Bonelli Shorebirds: Least Tern, Eurasian Widgeon, Pied Bill Grebe, Black Necked Stilt, Double-Crested Cormorant (breeding plumage)

I was so pleased to see these birds today! Three of them are new IDs:  Least Tern, Pied Bill Grebe, and Eurasian Widgeon. ❤

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Euasian Widgeon (male)

EurasianWidgeon

Imagine my delight in seeing a Euasian Widgeon for the first time! The distant yellow markings on the forehead, in the midst of an overall ruddy head, with a grayish body made the ID. Binoculars are awesome — but not as awesome as widgeons!!!

Tree Swallows

TreeSwallow

Song of the Tree Swallow

I saw many Tree Swallows in flight today! I listened to their songs. There were lots of shimmering, blue-green males and the darker, gray-black swallows as well. I usually think barn swallows are my favorite swallows, due to the lovely combination of colors in their feathers, but all swallows fill the bird-watcher with joy! Swallows have so much joy in themselves.

California Thrasher

I saw two of these hook-beaked beauties on my walk into Bonelli from Bracket Airfield this morning, one on either side of the road! They were at the tops of their respective trees, letting their voices be heard. I was drawn to pause by the distinct, melodiou, voices of song that they were lifting up in the morning … either praises or love lyrics for the breeding season!

CaliforniaThrasher

Song of the California Thrasher

CaliforniaThrasher2

Birding Bonelli – five new IDs!

Birding in Bonelli by the Puddingstone Reservoir was amazing today! I made five new IDs:  Common Tern, Ring-Necked Duck, Least Sandpiper, Wilson’s Warbler, and on the walk out, the Greater Roadrunner!! I was deeply delighted.

I also saw a number of smaller song-birds:  purple finches, western blue birds, yellow-rumped warblers, black phoebes, mockingbirds, redwing blackbirds, California towhees, a mourning dove as well as several swallows and sparrows. The song sparrow was lovely!

voice of the song sparrow 

As ever, there were Canadian Geese, Mallard Ducks, and Muscovy Ducks galore, and there were greater white-fronted geese with a snow goose for company and plenty of American coots (of course!), but there were fewer herons than usual. I saw two Great White Herons in flight, but I only spotted one snowy egret. The green herons were already in hiding at mid-morning. I saw one cormorant and one common merganser (female). No raptors.

I heard, then saw, a Nuttall’s Woodpecker. Several male and female Great-Tailed Grackles were in pine trees and along the water’s edge. Killdeer were very vocal.

Mallard Hybrids

mallard_hybrids1

I saw two beautiful mallard hybrids,

dark brown with white chests,

at the Marin Civic Center Park in San Rafael last Saturday.

Western Tanager

Western Tanager

WESTERN TANAGER

I saw a beautiful Western Tanager (male) in Tejon Pass in the Emigdio Mountains in SoCal on Thursday morning when I was driving north to the San Francisco Bay Area.