Sunday, August 9, 2015

Baylands Nature Preserve, Pt II - 26 Jul 2015

I returned to the Bayland Nature Preserve in Palo Alto this morning to spend some time with the shorebirds. Clear skies and warming temps were a match from two days ago.

I pulled into the lot next to the dead trees and immediately spotted a female Hooded Oriole atop one of the trees. As I grabbed the scope to digiscope it a pair of Bewick's Wrens appeared, followed by a pair of Anna's Hummingbirds. A juvenile Downy Woodpecker flew in and landed on the trunk beside me, and I hadn't even closed the car door, yet. Violet-green Swallows were overhead again, so I tried to get a decent image of them before they flew off. Brewer's Blackbirds were foraging at my feet, but were worn enough to discourage me from photographing them.

I had a 2.5 mile walk ahead of me to reach the shorebirds, so I made off without any more delays. As with most sequels this morning brought fewer marsh birds. Water levels were a bit higher in the estuary this morning so the Long-billed Curlews moved farther out of sight. The California Gull colony was even less active this morning. Fewer Savannah Sparrows were moving through the ground cover ahead of me, so I had little reason to stop. American Avocets were still in the hundreds. As were Marbled Godwits. Willet were still in good numbers, as were Short-billed Dowitchers.

I reached the canal where the birds were roosting earlier and found fewer birds, but also found a dozen American White Pelicans. As I approached the canal I found small groups of Black-necked Stilts, Marbled Godwits, and Dowitchers. No sooner did I start scoping that more groups of Short-billed Dowitchers started arriving. I spent some time Digiscoping them with the Nikon 1 V3 and Digidapter, then decided to continue on a bit farther.

Though sunlight was behind them I couldn't resist photographing the avocets on the other side of the dike. The canal on my right held a few Black-crowned Night Herons, but no other birds. At the end of the dike a small turnaround and a sewage pond all that was left to explore. The pond held a few Black-necked Stilts and dozens more Short-billed Dowitchers. I found no other shorebirds, but a pair of young Common Gallinules among them. They were all too far below the bank to digiscope, but I photographed a few of the Dowitchers as they flushed and flew by. As I was leaving the pond I spotted a Black Phoebe foraging near the gate. I could only get document photos of the bird as the fence blocked a direct view of the bird.

I started back to the car and decided to digiscope the shorebird colony using the Sony Cybershot DSC RX100 III and Digidapter. I found color balance a little less appealing, but being able to shoot Aperture-Priority at f/2.8 means potentially higher res images.

The rest of the 2+ mile walk back to the car was uneventful, so I spent time trying to capture birds in flight. I faired ok, but was disappointed in my ability to focus. I found another Black Phoebe near the end of the other out wash. The rest of the walk back to the car was uneventful.

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