Last Thursday I splurged and got myself a spotting scope! Friday morning (super early!) I headed out to Squaw Creek NWR and spent the entire day marveling at the beautiful views I was getting through my new scope. Ahh! It was glorious! To add to my elation, I saw four new life birds! The first was a Rusty Blackbird. There was a group working the marsh area at the entrance of the park. It was so nice to be able to see those beautiful pale eyes.
Once I panned out past the Rusty Blackbirds along the shore I spotted several Ring-necked Ducks. Whoo Hooo! Second life bird for the day! In the same pool were hundreds of Mallards, Northern Shovelers, and Pintails. The more I look at them, the more I'm struck by the impressive coloring of Ducks.
My third life bird was a Hooded Merganser. I spotted a group of 5-7 far off in the distance with my binoculars bobbing and diving near a huge flock (1000+) of Snow Geese, but was unable to see them through my scope. Something startled the Snow Geese and caused them to rise up swirling in the sky. Unfortunately the Hooded Mergansers were lost in the chaos.
My fourth life bird was an American Avocet. A group of five were huddled along the shore amongst the Snow Geese and Ducks. Eventually the surrounding Ducks and Snow Geese got to be too bothersome for the Avocets. I held my breath as they started spreading their wings to fly to a new spot. Lucky me! They moved closer and I was able to get some pictures of them. I couldn't have been happier.
Squaw Creek was loaded with birds of prey on Friday. Unfortunately I am terrible at identifying this group. I think I'll need the assistance of experienced birders to help me identify these birds. I did spot several Immature Bald Eagles (along with several mature birds), a Northern Harrier, and the ever-present Red-Tailed Hawk.
I ran into a photographer (Jim) who was out capturing some wonderful images of the available birds. You should check out his photos. They are excellent!
By far this was my favorite day of birding.It was absolutely wonderful!
I've never had trouble finding something to do...Cycling,tennis, creating something out of stained glass are a few things I enjoy. Recently I've added birding to the list and suspect it will become a lifelong hobby.