Friday, November 25, 2011


Last weekend went on a field trip with Harry and Norma to Oso Flaco State Park located about a mile or so north of the quietly charming town of Guadalupe.

To birders, the main attraction at Oso Flaco (skinny bear) are the two lakes and the user friendly boardwalk that angles across the larger of the lakes. We were hoping to see an American Bittern. To say they blend in with the reeds is an understatement. First of all they are the color of reeds and when an observer is nearby, they will stretch their neck up, pointing their bill to the sky. As a consequence they look just like a reed. When we approached the area where the Bittern had been seen, people were putting away their scopes (not a good sign). The bird had disappeared into the reeds. We birded for about two hours and on our return we tried again for a view, but no Bittern.

What we did see delighted Norma and Harry. It was their first sighting of a Sora Rail. It was feeding along he edge of the reeds. Without effort we saw two feeding and one resting. The majority of the ducks were, of course, on the far side of the lake. We identified 20 species of the usual species. Cinnamon Teal were numerous.

The path into the lakes is lined with willows, and dense brush (photo). Yellow-rumped Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet were numerous.

By the time noon rolled around were were not looking at a Menu, as they don't have one, in a unheated, down home Mexican Cafe in Guadalupe. We warmed up considerably when our delicious meal arrived. The Tortillas were home made and fantastic. The waitress was sweet and charming. I highly recommend the place, but unfortunately do not know its name. It is located in the center of town in the 900 block.

Local birding has been spectacular do to a few days of extreme high tides. As the tide moves into the pickleweed, the ducks come along for the ride - thousands of them. Along South Bay Blvd. you can to get an excellent view, as long as you do not mind cars racing by a few feet away. I could hold my binocs. stationary and watch scores and scores of Pintail, Shoveler, and Wigeon float by on the energy of the tide. Now, that is what I call fun!

Sunday, November 13, 2011


To the rear of the Spooner Ranch House is an old Buckeye shrub, grown into a tree. The tree may look scraggly, but there is always bird activity in and around it, regardless the time of year. The dense twigs provide little birds such as Warblers and Wrens a save haven, and many places to perch.
This morning tiny flying insects had hatched along the edge of the road beside the tree. As I approached, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend's Warbler (photo), and Bewick's Wren were feasting on the insects. From a perch in the Buckeye they would dart out to catch insects in the air or on the ground and then fly back to a perch. Within a few minutes, a pair of Western Bluebirds and a couple of White-crowned Sparrow joined in on the feast. I could hear their teensy beaks clack as they snatched the insects out of the air. (I do love that sound) For several minutes I was in the midst of a these adorable birds. A Townsend's brushed right over my head and back the same way. They were landing inches from my feet (unfortunately too close for a photo). Needless to say, I was a happy camper.