a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Presidents' Weekend Saturday

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents' Weekend Saturday

SUMMARY: Cosumnes River Preserve
UPDATED: Tues, Feb 22, 10 a.m. (see below).
What a great weekend! Very busy, exhausting, still sorting hundreds of photos, but here are glimpses of the whole thing.

On Saturday, I drove with my parents out to the Sacramento delta area near Elk Grove--the Cosumnes River Preserve, where I went a couple of weeks ago but didn't get enough of. This time I had a borrowed 100-400mm telephoto lens, hoping to get some better bird shots. And my mom's a long-time bird watcher and my parents both love exploring and nature, so I invited them along.

We left around noon, drove 2 hours out the Preserve. Looked at some birds there. Drove along some of the roads in the preserve at various locations--this area is intriguing because of cooperation between the Preserve and private landowners. A lot of the land that is farmed during the summer is left fallow and even flooded during migration seasons to make up for so many thousands of square miles of the Central Valley marshlands lost to development and farming.

We saw so many different birds! And, when sorting my photos at home, I discovered more that I didn't even know that we'd seen. After sunset, we stopped for dinner and then headed for home--essentially spent about 8 hours in the car with just a break for dinner. With my additional half hour to my parents house and then half hour home at the end, that's a lot of sitting.

I still have tons of photos sort through, try to make clearer, crop down to a reasonable view, and so on, but here's a taste.

Dad and Mom  with MUTT MVR at the Cosumnes Visitor Center, ready for anything.

So many birds in every direction! Snow geese in the background here.

Pintail getting out of Dodge.

This kestrel didn't like us stalking her. Every time I edged the car forward 15 feet, she'd fly 15 feet farther down the wire and go back to watching us. We did this for about 10 minutes.

We saw Sandhill Cranes! Lots and lots of them! Not many very close, and it was overcast and a bit dark, but, yay!, cranes! This one has bands and a transmitter of some sort. UPDATE: I reported this bird sighting online and got this response: " That crane was marked during my study of wintering ecology of sandhill cranes and was captured as an adult on Oct. 15, 2007. We found it on its nesting territory during summer, near Likely, Calif. It has been observed wintering at the Cosumnes River Preserve every year since."

The sun sent beams out from behind the clouds onto the farmers' fields and Mount Diablo in the background.

And then it was night. Time to get home, pack the car, and get to bed for Sunday's adventure.


  1. Wow! What a weekend! I'd trade your weekend for regulation agility anytime!

  2. This is the sort of thing that I hadn't been doing that made me start to complain about agility sucking up my life. I did, indeed, have a great time all three days, except the tire replacement was a little painful in the wallet, and after Sunday's hike I could barely walk. Must. Do. Uphill. Training.

  3. Great photos, especially of the kestrel balancing on one leg. Did he think he was a flamingo? Did you enjoy the 100-400 lens? The results are certain nice!

  4. I've been staring at that photo since yesterday, trying to figure out where his other leg is. Not one of my photos of that bird shows two legs. We might very well be looking at a one-legged kestrel.

    I've used the 100-400 lens before. Certainly lets me get larger photos of the birds, but these are unfortunately the best of the dozens and dozens that I took. I really needed a tripod and more patience. The lens is HEAVY.