Took a drive out to the wildlife refuge yesterday. The seasonal changes are becoming more obvious. More water, leaf bare trees, etc. .
Most of the birds were just out my lens range to get a clear picture. The only birds up close and personal were the coots. Coots around here plentiful and it is very common to hear photographers and bird watchers say there is nothing here but the coots to let each other know that there are no interesting birds about. (I actually find the coots fun to watch.) I spent most of my time just watching and listening. It is the first time in a long time that I have managed to get myself out there. The sun was shining (yeah) and there wind was not too bad, although a bit chilly. After about an hour and a half the clouds came and the sky became grey. Brrr . . .. so I headed back home before I froze what little arse I have off.
On the way back I found this scene interesting – different birds one without feathers:
Driving down the road I spotted a hawk atop the telephone line. I pulled the truck over and the bird flew off and landed a few poles down along the side of the roadway. I drove forward and as soon as I rolled down my passenger window the bird flew away again LOL. You thing I would have this down by now eh? I left the window down and slowly crept forward past where the hawk had landed figuring that each time he flew he landed ahead of me. This time it worked. Even with the vibration of the running truck and shooting at an odd angel out the passenger window I managed to an ok set of it landing.
I left the photos untouched except the second one – I bumped up the brightness a tad so you might see the the hawks colorful plumage more as I did in person.
Our trip to Gray Lodge was fun. We headed up Hwy 99 and made a left in Liveoak headed for the Gray Lodge wildlife refuge. Along the way we spotted flooded farm land full of birds. By the sounds it was obvious that the geese were there along with some swans and ducks. We pulled off to the side of the road. KRP said that gate is open why don’t you drive onto that road. I refused knowing that driving onto someone’s farm land is usually frowned upon. Even if the roadway was not posted no trespassing.
I got out of the truck and started to walk down the dirt and gravel road. About halfway down the farm hand came driving up to me. He was on his way to close the gate. They had opened it to go run off some guys who had driven onto the land to take photos. Ugh oh I am thinking. He laughed and told me I could walk on and take pictures as I had been respectful enough not to drive onto the land. We talked a little bit. He was teaching his son how to hunt and was fairly sure before I got to the end of the road his pals would stir the birds up just for the fun of it. Umm ..
Further down I decided to try out the video feature on my camera. I did get it turned on and gave it a try. What I learned was – one, I totally suck at holding the camera out from my body to see the video screen – so most of the video is jerky. Two if I try and look straight up at the birds I fall down. LOL my arse got dirty ha ha. Three I really should read up on how the camera focuses in movie mode :).
The thumping of the birds as they took flight was amazing. It was so loud it sounded like helicopters taking off. The video sound unfortunately really did not catch it well. As I was walking back toward the truck a feather landed right in front of me. I added it to my collection on my visor.
We arrived at the refuge late afternoon, filled out the permits, and decided to take the driving tour loop. Along the way the waterways and ponds were full of geese. Lots of little birds in the trees and shrubs and a few vultures. As the sun set the reflections in the water were pretty and the Buttes took on a blue cast.
We stopped in Yuba City and had dinner with an old friend of mine from way back when and then headed home. I sometimes forget what a pain it is driving through the Tule fog. A good day.