Thursday, November 7, 2013

Apologies for the long wait on a new post

Two roadrunners NOT on the road
I am embarrassed to say that the main reason I have been so remiss in posting to my blog is technical.  Google changed a lot of their set ups and it took me a while to cut through all the new stuff to find my way back to here.  Well, there's that and there's all the birding I've been doing.  And boy are there birds here to see!
What's that knot on that tree?

The Sandhill Cranes, the main stars of the show here, are coming in day by day and the latest count shows that we have a little over 3,000 with at least twice that many coming by the end of November.  And while they are beautiful to watch, I really like the snow geese which the latest count shows at a population of over 5,000.  And I can believe that.  Some mornings I look across the highway into the flooded grain fields and it's almost a blanket of white. 

Sneaky perch
But then things get ducky!  We have over 22,000 ducks here in the refuge.  I am busily learning to tell them all apart.  One day last week I was manning my post at the spotting scope on the Marsh Deck and saw a few ducks: ring necked, bufflehead, cinnamon teal, widgeon, pintail, mallard, redheads, and ruddy ducks.  Wow, it is really hard to pick some of them out because most of the males are still in their drab summer plumage. 

Buffleheads in the afternoon sunshine
Of course there are numerous Canada Geese along with all the red wing blackbirds, the hawks, the eagles, the woodpeckers......  well, as you can see, we host a large variety of creatures here.  And I am loving it despite the wintry weather beginning to set in.  There is snow up north on the mountains but so far it hasn't found it's way here and I hope it doesn't.  Well, OK Madeline Ruth, I do think it would be pretty to see the place covered with a light dusting of snow. But just a LIGHT dusting. 

Next week the Festival of Cranes will begin and I'm told there will be over 5,000 birders and photographers here for that.  It should be interesting.  I'll try to do better at posting some pix from that.

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