Sunday, January 04, 2015

A Winter Stroll Along the Mission River

We spent the afternoon strolling along the Mission River, enjoying the variety and huge flocks of birds wintering along the tidal flats near the mouth of the Mission River.  The river is a favorite spot for birders with their binoculars and large telephoto lenses. A Winter walk along the river is a great way to get out and see all sorts of migratory waterfowl, all while staying within the city boundaries.

 This common merganser was hunting for fish between the boulders along the shore.

Two snowy egrets were following the common merganser, hoping to snatch a fish or two scared up by the merganser.

This Eurasian Wigeon was hanging out with the flocks of American Wigeons, a bit far from it's normal Eurasian breeding grounds.  This was the first time I've seen one of these; add another bird to the list!

White pelicans dipping their beaks into the water for fish in the Mission River.  When they found a school of fish, they would surround them, all seemingly dunking their heads in unison.  Watching them slowly drifting back and forth across the river, dunking their heads in and out of the water as they herded the schools of fish, was a total National Geographic moment.  These are not common here along the coast.  I'm feeling pretty lucky if I see them once a year; so, I was feeling pretty fortunate to see a whole flock of them.  Perhaps it has something to do with the recent rainstorm washing nutrients out into the river and stirring up a bunch of plant and animal life or perhaps it was just one of those random lifetime moments.

Northern Shoveler browsing for food in the Mission River.

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