Back in the beginning of the month I spoke of my “February Goals”. So far I’ve done pretty well with the “Post A Day” goal, and I’ve written one letter (and sent 5 Valentines) to my grandchildren. The walking hasn’t gone quite so well – unless I count all of the trips from the sewing machine to the ironing board as “walks”. But today, I’m pleased that I not only took a good walk, but since it was in the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, it was also filled with wonders and delights!
The walking part of the day consisted of an early morning birding walk.
One thing about going on an organized birding walk is that most of the folks are actually “birders” and someone is bound to have brought a scope to get a really good look at the wildlife around you (though barely visible to the eye!). We started the walk by going through a feeding station right outside the Visitors’ Center. And we were not disappointed!
A Golden Fronted Woodpecker
A Great Kiskadee
and lots of red-wing blackbirds.
After the feeding station the sightings slowed down but we were headed for one of the many wetland/lake areas that were full of a wonderful variety of waterfowl.
The scope was really helpful for identifying the many different ducks and waterfowl, but it really came in handy on our next stop – the search for the Great Horned Owl nest.
Now I have never seen an owl in the wild and it has long been on my ‘bucket list’. I knew it would be hard to see (it was pretty far away) and for a while I thought my only shot would be through the scope.
As you can see, she’s even hard to make out through the scope!
I was having a very hard time finding the nest with my zoom lens (and took a fair number of Spanish moss pictures!), but finally she came into view.
Still a bit fuzzy (I was on digital zoom), but it certainly made my day!
As we worked our way back to the Visitor’s Center there were a couple more sightings –
Another Great Kiskadee
A Harris Hawk
and a Green Jay –
And there’s a little flycatcher sitting on the branch near the bottom right. I’m sure my new birder friends identified it with a more official name, but I pretty much remembered the flycatcher part!
As you can see, it was a beautiful morning for a walk all around
and I hope I learned a thing or two about birding! I know I learned there’s a lot to learn! It was great fun!
Before we left we took a tram ride that I confess was a bit disappointing.
It turned out that today was a Winter Texan Appreciation Day, so while they were running a lot of tram trips, they weren’t making any stops along the way. It was interesting to learn about the history of the area and such, but there wasn’t much wildlife out and the scenery was pretty much the same. The greatest delight for me was when we turned the corner and road along the levy with the refuge on one side and the fields on the other. Gotta say, I love those fields!
Getting the harvested cabbage onto the truck –
Cabbages ready to harvest
This was our last Saturday in The Valley, so I was glad to finally make it to the Refuge. We finished off the day with one last trip to our favorite flea market and produce stand, a quick stop at Lowes (what’s an outing without a stop at Lowes or Home Depot!) and then to the DQ to use up a ready-to-expire coupon. Gotta use them up, right?
We had a lovely Saturday – hope your Saturday was lovely as well!