Sunday, April 17, 2011

Birds I'm Watching: Ninth St. Rookery, Spring Lake (April 15-16, 2011)

I visited the "Ninth St. Rookery" for the first time this season on the 15th. The "rookery" is nothing more than four or five large trees in the median strip on West Ninth St. in Santa Rosa used each year by Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Black-crowned Night Herons, and Cattle Egret as a nesting site. The place always has a surreal quality. The trees are filled with starkly white birds making the strangest of noises--saying things that sound like "wubba-wubba, wubba-wubba." Usually active between late March and June, it's good place to see these birds up close.

Yesterday, I took a walk around Spring Lake and had the unusual pleasure of seeing an American Bittern that stood still long enough to photograph (below). Usually these birds are so well camouflaged that you simply don't see them, or the moment they see you, they're gone with a loud squawk! amid a noisy flapping of wings. I hadn't been to Spring Lake in quite a while. There were orange-crowned warblers singing everywhere, and enough Spotted Towhees to compare the rather similar trills these two birds make (I always have trouble telling them apart). Some of the Golden-crowned Sparrows were in their full breeding plumage, sporting starkly black-gold-black heads. I also saw the Great Horned Owl nesting at the lake again this year. A good way to start the day--before heading home to sit at the computer to work all day.

For more information about bird watching in Sonoma County, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots.

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