Thursday, December 17, 2009

Birds I'm Watching: Lake Ralphine/Spring Lake

Took a walk around lake Ralphine and Spring Lake today, in Santa Rosa. Saw 40 bird species: Downy woodpecker, Nuttal's woodpecker, acorn woodpecker, turkey vulture, crows, lesser goldfinch, house finch, ruby-crowned kinglet, northern flicker, robin, Western meadowlark, ring-billed gull, coots (22), common moorhen (2), scrub jay, oak titmouse, chestnut-backed chickadee, yellow-rumped warbler, great egret, snowy egret, spotted towhee, California towhee, fox sparrow, golden-crowned sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, song sparrow, marsh wren, Bewick's wren, belted kingfisher, Great blue heron, Canada geese, mallards, buffleheads (10), greater scaup (6), common merganser (27 on Lake Ralphine), pied-billed grebe, a spotted sandpiper, a red-shouldered hawk, an Osprey eating a fish up in a tree, and a pair of common goldeneyes.

The photos are of a male (top) and female common merganser. These birds show striking sexual dimorphism--strictly speaking, sexual dichromatism.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rain: Some Clear Skies Finally (December 13, 2009)

It finally stopped raining this morning. I can see clear skies off to the west, over Sebastopol. That usually means it will be clear here within an hour or so. Checking the rain gauge, we have had 1.75 inches since it began raining on Friday (the 11th). That brings our 2009-2o10 season total to 6.65 inches, which is almost 1.7 inches below normal for this date, but another storm is on the way, or so they say.

[Update] Got another 0.55 inches Monday and Tuesday (the 14th and 15th), which brings our total to 7.2 inches as of today (Wednesday, the 16th). Normal precipitation for this date is 8.89 inches, so we are 1.69 inches below normal at present.

[Update] Got an additional 0.25 inches on the 19th and 20th, putting us at 7.45 inches as of December 21. That's about 1.9 inches below normal for this date.
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