Central Valley Highway Birding along Hwy 113 (West of Yuba City)
- My hubby and I drove up to a birthday party a couple of hours north
of us on Saturday. No field time anticipated. Brought the birthday
present, but left the binocs at home. Bad idea.
Was tormented by sightings of several flocks of glossy ibis, feeding
in and flying over flooded rice fields: 15 birds in one clump, and
over 75 in another. A kettle of pointy-winged hawks hovering over
freshly baled straw resolved themselves into Swainson's, with all of
that heavy machinery no doubt providing a plethora of tasty morsels
for their delectation.
I was also struck visually by our common and mostly disdained red-
winged blackbirds, whose amazingly bright and prominant red
epaulets "popped" from their agricultural-green background. Talk
Driving home on Sunday along the same route, got a good look at
another Swainson's hawk. This successful hunter flew directly over
our car, large rodent (prob. a gopher) clutched in its talons. It was
a slam-dunk ID, with its striking dark and light wing pattern: dark
wingtips, and whitish wing linings.
Hey, who needs binocs?