Monday, January 19, 2009

Yet Another Fabulous Walk - We Don't Get Tired of It!

We got started on our Sunday bird walk mid morning. It took us almost an hour to walk the first mile or so because we kept getting distracted by watching birds. We saw a flock of forty or so meadowlarks in the area where the abandoned houses are - what an amazing noise that was! We didn't know that meadowlarks flocked together like that, the way blackbirds and starlings do.

Not long after we saw the meadowlarks we started hearing shooting - there's a shooting range of sorts established by one of the neighbors on a particular flat spot by the river. We've gotten pretty much used to it, although I have to admit it's not my favorite sound. At any rate, along comes a huge shattering boom of a shot. We keep walking, cross the river at the bridge, still birdwatching - some birds don't seem to mind all the noise - and see the men at the range. That particular area near the river is actually a really good place for birds - even with the shooting we saw some killdeer there that aren't usually around, bluebirds, a phoebe and the ravens. As we continued walking up the road, one of the men decided that he'd better warn us and drove up to let us know that they were shooting a 460 Weatherby rifle that has a range of 2000 yards so we should probably not walk along the river but stick to the road. We'd already figured that, but agreed politely, seeing as how they had the big guns and we only had some mean looking binoculars and a sack of bird books. That particular rifle is a "dangerous game" rifle developed for shooting Cape Buffalo and African elephants, both of which are in a shortage here in Madera County. Now, I'm a bleeding heart liberal Bambi lover so practicing to shoot critters just doesn't get on my good side but it's legal and they were doing it as safely as they could so I guess that's just the way of the world.

Here's a pretty spot along the river. I actually took a little video of this, since my camera will do that, but the file is so big! I don't have any video editing software so have no idea what to do with it. I just thought it would be kind of fun to be able to see and hear the Chowchilla with water in it once things dry up over the summer.

We stopped for lunch at the schoolhouse, which has been abandoned for years, but yes, was a one roomer of the old fashioned variety. One of these times I'll get up there at a time of day when I can get some nice shots of it. There's a big hay shed next to it and it's a great place for seeing sparrows. We also spotted a Nuttall's woodpecker there yesterday. While we were still munching, one of our neighbors came up in her ATV so we had a nice chat.

From afar, this little item looked like a big hawk with a white breast sitting in this tree. But no, it was a just a Common Birthday Balloon, natus mylaris, subspecies deflatus.

1 comment:

Tom Hurley said...

Many moons ago, circa 1970s, I commuted four times a week from Coarsegold (Madera county) to Fresno. When I got to the valley floor my ears were treated to the wonderful trilling calls of meadow larks. Even though I was often breaking the speed limit in my little Porsche, their sound still came through. Either they were very loud, or my car was quieter than I thought. I have missed them. Glad they’re back!

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