While I have been away from my blog entries for a while, I do have some cool, memorable and interesting things to add. Way back on May 25th, I thought that I would give the area “beyond Palomarin” a going over as I figured that I might have a chance and get lucky with a MacGillivray’s Warbler, a Grasshopper Sparrow or for that matter a Rufous-crowned Sparrow. I rode the 4 miles to and past the Point Reyes Bird Observatorys Palomarin Field Station. Here is where the trail head to Bass Lake, takes off. Arriving, I was disappointed as no bikes are allowed onto the trail. Not wanting to be deprived of any potential firsts, I figured I’d hoof it in the 4 miles to Bass Lake, on foot. Well, luck would be kind to me but not in an avian sort of way. This was to be a feline blessing with a brief but exciting view of a mid sized, “teenage” Bobcat! Yes indeed, this surprised, super spry young kitten-cat, caught me in those slit pupil eyes and flashed a bob of cotton tail, air born flail and passed on, “or” the trail. I took a powerfully brisk walk to and from the calm waters of Bass Lake but saw only the most beautiful morning that I had noticed in quite some time! I thought to myself, “hmmm, no new target birds” as the parking lot was nearly in view. All of a sudden, I caught a whiff of a sweet and melodic song coming just over a small rise, crowned with a layer of Sticky Monkey Flowers. I straightened up, slowed WAY down and kinda stood up on the ol’ tip toes, and there, JUST over the rise was a stunning male Lazuli Bunting, singing its head off. This bird was so filled with joy, lust, testosterone and his good looks that it simply didn’t notice me. Well, the instant that it took a breath into its cinnamon breast, it caught me in its “seed-bead” black eye and exploded into flight. It didn’t stop flying until I couldn’t see it and who knows where it ended up. “Probably a migrant on the move”, I thought to myself, feeling the gladness that comes with a gift from above or at least from where Lazuli Buntings come from! It was species # 199.
The big Milestone came uneventfully enough when I headed home from the gallery for dinner. It was May 29th and I have gotten WAY into the habit of scoping off of the deck as I know how that can pay off with an unexpected treat. This particular scan dang near popped my cork when I zoomed past the “sea” of Gulls and slammed right into a black, white and red “cartoon character”! #200 I said out loud as I tweaked the focus knob on the old Bushnell Spacemaster. A Black-necked Stilt was the form that filled my glad eyes as I smiled to myself. SUDDENLY, before I was able to soak up this resting wader into its well earned slot at the double century point, there was a great tumult! Every bird was airborne. Herons, belched out loud raucous protests as they shoved off and out of their safe nests. Every Gull sprang into the sky, forming a great wheeling mass of hysteria as I said under my breath, “The Land Lord has come for the rent”. Sure enough, there it was, like a cross between some Nat. Geo. nature program and a Bank of America ad, someone could have yelled, “National Emblem, enter stage RIGHT”. Of course the big bad bird had to grocery shop RIGHT where the Stilt was, and so when it did, my long legged friend did what any life loving creature would do and that was to leave the meat “isle”. After this Eagle took his apatite elsewhere, the stilt settled in on the Eagle-free mud flat in front of our deck.
A bird that has shaken my confidence as to how well I thought I was covering “my patch”, has finally been caught up with. It has made me feel like a TURKEY!!! I have had to listen to so many well meaning people who have created bountiful images of ALL of the Turkeys that they have seen here and there! I have been a little less than pleased to have witnessed them only from the confines of my (non-carbon free) auto! Until NOW! I finally stuffed this bird onto my list at #201.
Last but not least, I jumped a Black-tailed Hare (new name for Jackrabbit) this morning up on the Bolinas Mesa and once again, smiled to see an old friend, anew.