Saturday, April 12, 2014

Not for Kids

One wrong turn off the Freeway and I ended up at a park by the bay. I stopped in and I am glad that I did. There were Avocets and Black-necked Stilts very close to the parking area. Not like we usually see them in our area - very far away. Here are a few Avocets that flew right over my head. Even in flight, you can see their distinctive upturned bill.

Avocets
Here is another one hanging around the mudflats at low tide. The apricot color on the head and neck indicates an adult in breeding plumage.

Avocet
The real stars (porn stars) of the show were the Black-necked Stilts that are nesting on the mud islands in the park. Cover the kids' eyes. Here they are doing the deed.

Black-necked Stilts - gettin' jiggy
Here is the happy couple playing house afterwards.

Black-necked Stilts
Some other good birds were at the park too like this Clarke's Grebe. It came swimming down the channel right beside me and disappeared beneath the surface of the water. It popped back up a few yards away with a little fish! You can tell this is Clarke's Grebe by the fact that you can see the red eye in the white part of the face. Western Grebes look very similar but the black covers the eye.

Clarke's Grebe with fish
 The fish was finally gulped down and the grebe swam back out into the bay.

Clarke's Grebe
Another bird that nests in the park is the Coot. Here is one sitting on a nest right by the parking lot. I wonder how long that will last.

Coot
Green-winged Teals were swimming around in the shallow water. This one popped out onto a rock for a rest.
Green-winged Teal
Northern Shovelers were also feeling romantic. The males were chasing females around doing a head bob and a really cool quack.
Northern Shovelers
I left the park and headed to my original destination - a park in the mountains. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the park has both Sequoia and Redwood trees - pretty big ones. No photos since it is difficult to photograph giant trees with a telephoto lens.  What a great way to end a trip.

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