Birds and Birth, Pregnancy and Poultry

Birds and BIrth


House Sparrow



Yellow Socks

Benicia, CA

Birding with Binoculars in Bonelli

In eight years of birding, I’ve only used binoculars three times — once when spotting eagles downstate in Illinois, once when spotting ospreys on Mare Island, and once when visiting Bonelli Regional Park with a friend who had a spare pair. This reflects a personal preference: I’ve wanted to see birds with my naked eyes, and I’ve wanted to get quietly closer to the birds without startling them, and I’ve wanted them to let me. It has worked out for the most part, and I have identified many birds in the wild.

But I recently purchased a pair of binoculars, and today, I went birding with them in Bonelli Regional Park. Let me just say:  I once was blind, but now I see! Today I saw birds from far away as if they were very near.

Some new IDs for me? Lark Sparrow, Pine Siskin, and Northern Shoveler. In addition, some rarer sightings: Gadwell, Bufflehead (male), and a group of Western Meadowlarks. It was delightful to watch the Lark Sparrow rustling, hopping, and scratching in some underbrush. (Earlier on my walk I had seen a California Towhee acting similarly.) Like the sparrow, the Bufflehead was looking for food, but under the water. He looked so happy diving down and coming up again! But he was alone out there. I didn’t see any other buffleheads.

The long beaks of the Northern Shovelers were easy to see. But the Gadwell stood out when viewed through the binoculars. What finely detailed and gorgeous coloring the Gadwall has! The Pine Siskin was in a pine tree — of course. The Eurasian Collared Dove was also in a pine, tho’ a different one. The Western Meadowlarks in a group were a delightful surprise. I am used to seeing only one at a time, not six or seven.

All the usual suspects also were gathered round Puddingstone Reservoir:  American Coots, Belted Kingfishers, Black Phoebes, California Towhees, Canadian geese, Double-Crested Cormorants, Greater White-Fronted Ducks, House Finches, Killdeer, Mallard Ducks, Muskovy Ducks, Great White Egrets, Ring-billed Gulls, Sanderlings, Snowy Egrets, and Western Grebes. What a phenomenal day! Blissful for me, really.

Thank you, Creator-God.


Happy Thanksgiving, Mew Gull!


This morning, I went out to hike Bonelli Regional Park, and I noticed a new bird by the water: the Mew Gull! I spotted six or seven at least during my time walking around Puddingstone Reservoir. The large black eye, blacked-tipped wings, dual-colored bill (black and yellow), and light-colored legs made the ID. A beautiful bird to see on Thanksgiving Day! I loved watching it circle in flight and zoom through the American coots to compete for bread a little boy was tossing out to the birds from the bank.

I also saw the red-tailed hawk, black phoebe, Canadian geese, greater white-fronted geese, mallards, a Great Blue heron, Great White Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, several lesser goldfinches, a juvenile gull — very gray!

I saw yellow-rumped warblers darting between tree branches. I usually only see them in NorCal when it is cold, around January … but it is not cold here, today. It’s 90 degrees!

Florence Augusta Merriam Bailey’s _Birds Through an Opera Glass _ of 1889: The First Field Guide

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Florence Bailey – Birds Through an Opera Glass – 1889 (PDF)

Audubon’s Barn Swallows

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