Sunday, January 11, 2009

Band-Tailed Pigeons

We took a lovely long walk yesterday, covering 6 or 7 miles or so, mostly along the Chowchilla. A perfectly beautiful day for it too, in terms of enjoying a day from a human perspective. I suppose rain would have been better since we certainly need more of that. We had one of those great bird watching days in terms of spotting different species - 25 yesterday! Including a new species - band-tailed pigeons. Now, these aren't rare or anything, but I've been seeing dove-like birds for a few weeks now that seemed bigger and just not quite dove-y enough. We got the spotting scope on them yesterday and ta da! (Pigeon photo US Fish and Wildlife)

Now, we do realize that just counting species isn't really the point, but it does help us pay attention. After all, it's not as if there is a shortage of doves and unless you're a dove freak (we're not) why bother looking at them?

Another discovery on the other side of the river - two barn swallow nests tucked under some big rocks. They were sharing space with uninhabited mud wasp constructions. We'll see if later in the year we can surreptitiously observe the comings and goings when the babies arrive from the other side of the river. Thank goodness for long lenses and spotting scopes!

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