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north side of Clearlake

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  • Kate Marianchild
    I had a fun birding weekend - not sure what s noteworthy, if anything, but it was exciting to me. Clearlake Oaks on Friday: one yellow-headed blackbird, 5-6
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 16 6:43 PM
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      I had a fun birding weekend - not sure what's noteworthy, if anything,
      but it was exciting to me.

      Clearlake Oaks on Friday: one yellow-headed blackbird, 5-6 horned
      grebes in breeding plumage, and many crows catching and eating shad -
      swooping down and scooping them up from the surface of the lake. The
      Birder's Handbook doesn't mention fish as part of their diet, but it
      does mention carrion; I was told the shad are floating on the surface
      of the lake, almost but not quite dead. The crows would fly up to a
      branch, hold the shad down with one foot and take bites with their
      beaks - much as osprey eat fish.

      Only a few white pelicans. I was looking for the hordes of birds I've
      heard about near Clearlake Oaks, but missed them. I wonder if most of
      the white pelicans have left?

      Nice, today: 1 common yellow-throat foraging among tules, 20 caspian
      terns, 8 green-winged teal, 20 or so northern shovelers, two killdeer
      feigning injury (I obliged by going toward the first one who tried to
      lure me away, but it just kept going and going; I didn't want to go in
      that direction indefinitely so I turned back and looked for the nest or
      scrape, but didn't find it); thousands and thousands of grebes, a few
      doing neck dancing and parallel water-scooting, and hundreds and
      hundreds of swallows - cliff, tree, VG, and barn - swooping low and
      close enough for me to see the beautiful colors on the backs of the
      VG's and Trees. It was exquisite with sun shining from the side and
      illuminating the birds against a dark backdrop of blue-grey-purple
      clouds.

      Kate
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