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Central Valley Highway Birding along Hwy 113 (West of Yuba City)

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  • debbieviess
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 16, 2008
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      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
      about showy.

      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?

      Debbie Viess
      Oakland, CA
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