Monday, August 22, 2011

Rancho Sierra Vista revisited, August 16th, 2011

A rather late in the day visit to Rancho Sierra Vista was not planned until the last minute. At the visitor centre here was a little shop with those Audubon birds that play a rough version of their calls when you squeeze them. Chris, my 5-year old brother, decided after the visit to Oak Canyon's duck pond (where I got the Black-crowned Night-heron) that he really, really wanted a duck, and that if he didn't get one he couldn't go to sleep ever (emphasis on the ever).

So remembering that the shop had a Wood Duck in their collection I suggested this trip, and sure enough it happened, despite the fact this shop was very likely closed since it began to approach 4PM (though I cared a bit more about seeing as much as I could then the shop being open to be honest).

The car park was silent this time, with no evidence of Cliff Swallows from before. Bushtits and Oak Titmice were heard in various places, and I found another Chequered White, this time a little bit closer.



At the visitor center it was also silent apart from a single female Lazuli Bunting. Upon leaving I heard cheeping overhead and found a pair of Barn Swallows high up in the sky, which is my first sighting in this state.


On the way back to the car I happened to check a distant telegraph pole for any birds of prey and sure enough there was a male American Kestrel perched in the sun all by itself. A Bewick's Wren made a quick appearance in the hedgerow, which is a bird I haven't seen at this location before.


Entering the car park a California Towhee flew up to the water fountain which was only a metre or two away, and in the sun, which set me up for some very nice photos.




Before we left I checked the little ditch that last time had water and a few ducks, but this time it was parched. There was a Black Phoebe and a female Lazuli Bunting here, and later on a trio of Red-tailed Hawk appeared in the sky, as did yet another Turkey Vulture (they really are everywhere).

Like last time the last birds seen were a flock of Mourning Doves on the way out.

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