May 14/05 - "Twas a day fit not for photographers as the tumultuous clouds threatened with rain ... but, where I goeth, the camera goeth too ... The air was quiet as I stepped outside this morning. The forecast was for rain, but I knew it would be at least 2 hours off. As I left the house, the Townsend and Black-throated Gray Warblers taunted me from their lofty perches high and hidden in the tall Douglas firs. A pair of Gold-crowned Sparrows were busy cleaning up under a hanging feeder as a Dark-eyed Junco tossed sunflower seeds all over. A curious Chipping Sparrow landed close by as if to see what I was up to. My first destination was San Malo mud flats. Mallards and Canada Geese were plentiful, but shorebirds were scarce. A commotion to my right caught my attention. A Greater Yellowlegs was having its morning bath. It flew right for a few feet then splashed down, then the same to the left. It was having a good time. There were a couple of moving specks in the middle of the flats. I turned the camera to find 6 Western Sandpipers and 1 Dunlin. I waited patiently for 20 more minutes, but no long-legged or long-billed birds appeared. My next stop was a garage sale. There was nothing interesting there. On to Admiral's Lagoon. As I approached, 2 shorebirds flew off to the spit. I was disappointed as I surveyed the empty shoreline. I looked towards the spit and saw a medium-sized bird land about 100 feet from me. It was a Black-bellied Plover with no black. I hadn't seen one for about 2 months. I thought they had left town. Suddenly 2 smaller birds flew towards me. They were Semipalmated Plovers. They landed about 80 feet away. I was busy for the next half hour taking pictures. Kaye Road was on the way home so I had to stop there. The Spotted Sandpiper was at the Rascal Lane pond and a brief stroll along the nature trail yielded several White-crowned Sparrows and American Goldfinches. I was about to quit when I spotted a raptor at the top of a dead tree. It was an Americam Kestral. I watched as it flew south hoping to see where its nest was, but to no avail. Heading back to the car, I heard some new sounds. The lighting was poor and the bush was dense. I saw something fly from a tree, but couldn't track it. 10 minutes later, I was just about to get in the car when I heard another sound. It was louder and different from the other. I carefully approached the willow it was coming from. The bird flew out to another tree. I got 1 quick shot and it was gone. That was my mystery bird. Back at the car I decided to check Makuta Road before heading home. I stopped by the nature trail and listened. I could hear "3-beers" in the distance, but high in the thin pines in front of me there was a lot of singing. They were Western Tanagers. The Tanagers and the Olive-sided Flycatcher were both first of the year for me. No good photos, but still a good day.

MYSTERY BIRD - This was a new bird for me, but Derrick and Michael have both identified it so now I know what it is. Do you know? I'll tell you at the end (if I remember).

MAKING A SPLASH - Bathing is an important part of feather care. That's important for the Greater Yellowlegs as it has many miles to go. This would have been a pretty good picture if I wasn't so far away - about 80'.

PLOVER LOVER - I always enjoy seeing the Semipalmated Plover. It seems so docile and polite compared to its cousin, the noisy Killdeer. The 2 species didn't get along as the Killdeer put the chase on whenever the Plover got near.

TUG-A-WAR - Guess who won? Yes, there was one happy Plover after this struggle.

A WHITE-BELLIED BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER - It's May 14. Shouldn't this bird have a black belly by now?

3-BEERS - There was no "QUICK" but the voice was unmistakeable. Welcome back from Ecuador to the Olive-sided Flycatcher.

KAYE ROAD KESTRAL - Last year the American Kestral raised a family at Kaye Road. I wonder if it is at it again?

mystery bird = House Wren

Coming soon - A GIFT OF NATURE - ISBN 0-9738161-0-4. 128 full colour pages of my best photos in a lovingly crafted hardcover book. Pre-publication special $25 plus shipping and handling.


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