A Friendly Redneck & 14 Hens

It has been a while since I have added a new post. That is for a number of reasons. One, is that I have encountered most of the species that have been “available” for someone on a bike. Two, is that there aren’t a lot of new species that show up late in August and three is that I have been quite busy on my book at the gallery. With that said, I have a couple to add to the Carbon Free Big Year.

I got a friendly call from the man who manages the Bolinas Water Treatment Plant who informed me of a Red-necked Phalarope he had seen working one of the ponds that make up this “migrant magnet”. I zipped up there and didn’t find the bird in all the regular haunts. Almost giving up I then changed my strategy and looked closer at the edge of the ponds rather than in the full view of the open water. Phalaropes typically enjoy the open water where they spin quickly in a tight circle, creating a liquid vortex that “vacuums” tiny critters up and to the surface where they pick them out of the water with quick jerking pecks of their slender bills. Scouring the edge of the pond paid off as I spotted the one and only bird actually foraging on foot, an unusual behavior for this species. #215

This morning I rolled out of bed and jumped on my bike and rode up to Point Reyes Station in search of one bird! I knew what I wanted and took a chance. Sure enough I was rewarded with not one, not two but 14 Common Moorhens! #216. These beautiful, coot-like “swamp hens” were located about 1/4 mile north of Point Reyes Station in a small pond. They are very unusual in Marin County, so a number of this size is very encouraging. In addition I rode around Five Brooks Pond where I was happy to see numerous migrant song birds such as Cassin’s Vireo, Townsend’ Warbler and Western Wood-Pewee. Getting back to my gallery by noon, I did a quick count of my mornings list and was happy to see that I had had 91 species in the “AM”.

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