Sunday, April 20, 2014

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

April 20, 2014

Pongo and I spent a low-key day today at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area near Davis.  I didn't want to spend too long away from home, it being Easter and all, but a weekend seems wasted if I don't make at least a short trip somewhere.  It's also getting harder to leave Pongo behind considering how much he enjoys these trips.  So, I kept the drive under two hours and made sure the adventure contained enough wildlife to keep Pongo entertained.

Western Meadowlark -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
When I take Pongo to Yolo, the first thing we do is walk under the interstate to the big field where he can walk around.  I still don't trust Pongo off leash, but he showed today that he may be ready for it in a year or two.  We'll see.  Yosh got him a twenty-five foot leash, which we used today for the first time.  He did really well on it.  Not much tugging at all, and he keeps an eye on me and waits if I stop just as well on that leash as he does on the regular six footer.  There's hope for this rescue dog.

Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
I'll grant you, the picture above isn't the most exciting picture ever taken.  It's green, though.  Really green.  That's the way the wildlife area looks right now, at least the parts that aren't currently underwater or were recently underwater.  There were a lot of yellows, too.  I love this time of year.  The wild flowers are everywhere.  They won't last long, but while they do they're magnificent.

White-faced Ibis -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
I hate to break up the color scheme, but these Ibises were the coolest birds Pongo and I saw today.  Well, aside the the lone harrier, but he was at least a hundred yards away before flying off.  What's the plural of Ibis?  Ibises?  Ibii?  Ibis?  Dunno.

Marsh Wren -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
At one point I stopped to take pictures and we found ourselves in the middle of a heated sing-off.  On one side of the road was the marsh wren pictured above.  On the other side of the road was a song sparrow (below).  It reminded me of Sundays in Harajuku.  There's a street that they block off and bands line both sides of the street all playing to their hearts' content at the same time.  It sounds like a jumbo jet from a distance.  These two birds weren't nearly that loud, but it seemed like they were trying to prove something to one another.

Song Sparrow -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
Most of the migrating birds have left for the summer, but there are still a few ducks hanging around.

Gadwall -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA
Mourning Dove -- Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, CA

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pacific Grove & Seventeen Mile Drive

April 13, 2014

Pongo and I drove out to the coast Sunday for a little R & R.  He's been getting a bit wound up lately, I figured a trip would do him some good.  We saw a  lot of birds, which makes Pongo happy.  He's really into wildlife these days.

Harbor Seal -- Pacific Grove, CA
Pacific Grove, CA
Black Oystercatchers -- Pacific Grove, CA
Pregnant Harbor Seal
Our first stop was Pacific Grove, where we made the obligatory drive along the ocean from the aquarium to Point Pinos.  We saw a number of harbor seal ,others with newborn pups.  Well, I saw them anyway.  Pongo doesn't tend to see animals from a distance.  Dogs don't have the best eyesight, I guess.

Harbor Seals -- Pacific Grove, CA
Point Pinos, Pacific Grove, CA
Wild geese have built a couple of nests near the trails on the rocks at Point Pinos.

Are non-migrating canada geese really wild?

It's that time of year.  We saw a couple of nesting black oystercatchers as well.  These rocks don't seem like the best place for building a nest.  People swarm the rocks.  Dogs, too.  The geese nests I saw are right next to the trails.  Urban geese, I guess.  Do they take their chicks into the ocean from there?  Yikes.  The pond at the golf course across the street seems better to me.  It seems like the goslings would have a tough time scrambling on the rocks out there.

Canada Goose -- Pacific Grove, CA
After watching surfbirds hopping around on the rocks for a while, we found a different route back to the car that avoided the geese.  Our next stop was the beach at Spanish Bay.  It's a nice stop for us because it's a long beach where Pongo can stretch his legs.  This beach has been covered in washed up seaweed the last couple of times we've visited.  The birds don't seem to mind.

Sanderlings on the Seaweed -- Spanish Bay, Seventeen Mile Drive, CA
Marbled Godwit -- Spanish Bay, Seventeen Mile Drive, CA
Have I mentioned all of the wildflowers we saw on the drive?  It's that time of year.  Purple.  Pink.  Orange.  Yellow.  Pretty much everywhere you look right now you'll find some wildflowers.  It's not a banner year for flowers in California because of the drought, but we got enough rain there in March to give us at least a bit of a show.

Seventeen Mile Drive, CA
Our next stop was Seal Rock.  Pongo wasn't scared of the sea lions this time.  Last time we were here he was overwhelmed by the noise they made.  It was smelly that time, too.  He seemed more curious than scared.  I don't know if he can actually see the sea lions out on the rocks.  He'd give the rocks a good hard stare every time one of the sea lions got worked up out there.

Rocky Point, Big Sur, CA
After Seventeen Mile Drive, we drove down South to Bixby Bridge.  Pongo was pretty tired at this point and we lost the sun in clouds, so this marked the end of the day's adventures.  Pongo did get to see some cows up close.  He wasn't too sure what to make of them.

Rocky Point, Big Sur, CA

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Alameda / Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline

Odds and Ends

March, 2014

These are just pictures from Alameda and Arrowhead Marsh that have been stacking up on my hard drive, in no particular order.

Lesser Scaup -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Black-tailed Jackrabbit -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Anna's Hummingbird -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Peregrine Falcons -- Alameda, CA

Here's a fun little sequence.  It happened on one of the towers of the Fruitvale Bridge.  A peregrine falcon had a kill, then another falcon came along and took it away.  Not very nice, if you ask me.

Greater White-fronted Goose -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Northern Pintail -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
California Gull -- Alameda, CA
Snowy Egret -- Alameda, CA
Barn Swallow -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Forster's Tern -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Caspian Tern -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA
Red-tailed Hawk -- Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline, CA