Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birds I'm Watching: Howarth Park (Lake Ralphine)

Spent an hour and a half or so this afternoon taking a break from work by walking along one side of Lake Ralphine, the boating lake at Howarth Park, in Santa Rosa. I've found that this is a good place to see warblers and other small woodland birds. I'm a novice when it comes to warblers, but I'm a quick learner. Today I saw yellow warblers and a Townsend's warbler, along with chestnut-backed chickadees, Oak titmice, bushtits, scrub jays, juncos, Anna's hummingbirds, Canada Geese, snowy egrets, mallards, a pacific-slope flycatcher, a brown creeper, a Nuttall's woodpecker, and a hairy woodpecker--16 species. Not too bad for a two-minute drive from home.

If you care to try this one, take the trail out of the far right corner of the upper parking lot at Howarth Park (far right if you're facing the lake, looking along the long axis of the parking lot). After about 100 meters the path splits. Take the left, lower, unpaved path--the path less traveled by--rather than the main, paved path that begins to rise. The lower path runs right along the side of Lake Ralphine. This entire stretch is a good place to look for birds, particularly in the more open areas toward the end of the lake.

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