Yolo Basin, Scott Road and a little Kismet

Port of Sacramento looking from Vic Fazio Preserve KS2018
Sunday I decided to head out of Town (slightly) to get some air and see some birds. I ended up at one of my fav spots, Dick Fazio Wetlands. (Don't forget your Land Pass) The views are sometimes wild, backdropped by lines of trees or levies, and sometimes urban-ish. One view is of the Port of Sacramento, which makes it look like some sort of movie set of an alien planet. There is also a view of Highway 80, up on columns, which can look like a temple to the Egret God if you see it from underneath at the right time.
Temple of the Egret God

Three snoozing ducks

Hidden Long Bill Curlew

Black Neck Stilt (note the pink legs)

Cricket in the path.
Egret hunting in the thick winter brush and grasses

The colors of the Fall and Winter are soft and warm... buffy grays, rusty reds and pinks with spots of tender chartreuse greens. The multi textures are irresistibly soft on the eye and crunchy under the foot. The rules of the road say do not walk on habitat. Touch it with your eyes and camera... stay on paths if you do walk. Birds are less afraid of cars than people on foot. Auto tours through wildlife refuges afford a moving bird blind... where you can drive as slow as you want, pull over in multiple places, and use the window armrest to steady your camera or binoculars. Windows rolled down to hear, see and smell it all. One of the usual routes was shut down, and for some reason there were a bunch more people there than usual... looked like two bird fieldtrip groups were there. Also hunters were driving through to the south/back in their big white pickups to shoot... you could hear the pops of the guns going off now and then.

Louis Woodpecker (KS 2014)
Today, I met up with my Friend Burnell, at the regular place... on East Bidwell and highway 50. We picked up a coffee at Whole Foods and headed over the freeway south down Scott Road. It's a mix of Rural yellow fields, oaks, cow pastures, vernal springs farm equipment...  and high end 4000-sf houses with a view, high end retail and golf courses. I think about  all the habitat that is being replaced with concrete. Its the first place I ever saw a Louis Wood Pecker. I didn't even know that pink woodpeckers existed before the fuzzy sighting. That was 4 years ago, and I have had trouble spotting them in the mean time. I did see one from faaar off, got a shot, but really, this older pic shows the creature better. I was happy to see one though. The fields lining the dirt and paved roads are punctuated by fantastic native Oaks and bulges of granite outcroppings.

Big Winter Oaks

Nutholes Post and Wires.
Some of the fences are still wooden posts and hand made barbed wire. Now and then you see one used as an acorn storage unit for the Acorn Woodpeckers in the area.
Curious Western Bluebird
A Western Bluebird is the reason I got into birding. I was leading a walking class for the Short Center over by Watt Ave and El Camino. We were crossing Butano behind Country Club, and a bird flew across my path, time stopping as it slowed in front of my eyes... all blue and apricot... the Bluebird of Happiness! Later the seed planted, and I started to look around for places that Bluebirds might show up....  The first two times I went out looking were to Michigan Bar Road when i heard there was a sighting of a Mountain Bluebird in the Oak Forests there... and the other an Auduban fieldtrip into the American River Parkway.
Yellow Rump Warbler
Detail: Grey Morph Dream
This is a detail of a painting I have been working on for a couple of weeks, building up the layers including crackling.
Sparrow and
Here is a Song Sparrow I saw today... perched by a pealing, cracking piece of paper... I see kismet at play. Life imitates Art.


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