Sunday, January 19, 2014

Finding Tranquility Along The Mission River (A.K.A. Bird Nerd Has Fun)

The weather has been unseasonably warm and dry for January, hitting the 70s and low 80s (F) in the daytime.  It's still been in the 40s and 50s at night, just to remind us that it is really January.  Clearly, however, there is no Polar Vortex here.  Perhaps the Polar Vortex pushed all the hot air over the Southwestern edge of the country.  

Fire danger warnings have been issued and the California Governor has also declared a drought emergency and water rationing for much of the state.  There is a huge fire raging outside of Los Angeles that forced over 3000 people to evacuate their homes.  

Still, the worries of the world seem far away when you walk in some of the many preserves here in San Diego.  These pictures are two of my favorites from today's walk in the Mission River preserve.  I hope they help you imagine the peace and tranquility of the moment.  While we didn't see any new birds (new to me anyhow), most of our favorites were there including northern shovelers, blue-winged teals, American wigeons, green-winged teals, cinnamon teals, ruddy ducks, buffleheads, northern pintails, egrets, little blue herons, great blue herons, avocets, curlews, and many more.  Days like these remind me why we live in San Diego.

 Anna's Hummingbird, Calypte anna, stretching his wings and tail (and looking a bit fierce).  This little guy let me get close enough to get some great shots with the telephoto, occasionally flitting from one branch to another, while I snapped more pictures than I care to admit to.

Northern Shoveler, Anas clypeata, demonstrating that ducks really can walk on water.  The feathers on the head of a Northern shoveler glow an iridescent blue-green when the sun reflects off of them.  However, in the shadows, they look a dark black.  The trick, of course, is getting the sun in just the right angle for a photo.

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