Wednesday, July 18, 2007

From Lodi to Alturas

Tuesday morning (Jul 10th) we headed out for Alturas and Modoc NWR from Lodi. We took I-80 east to Reno to catch US 395 to head north. Shortly after re-entering California on US 395 we saw several raptors at various locations. It was difficult to identify them from a distance, but I would make an educated guess that we had seen a couple of Swainson's Hawks, and a couple of red-tailed hawks. They are such fascinating birds to watch as they soar up over the drafts. Before we reached the Modoc overlook we also had seen a great egret and later saw a small flock of snowy egrets.

At the Modoc overlook I came across this wildflower. Sorry, don't know the name of it. Maybe someone
reading this can help me identify it.
Looking out in the distance we could see something white farther out on a tiny "island." At first glance I thought they were egrets, but then realized they looked "heavier" or "fatter" than an egret -- oh, they were American white pelicans. As we approached Modoc's "auto tour," we also saw many mallards, mostly mamas with their chicks. We also saw several shorebirds - but they were difficult to identify.
When we approached one of the drier areas, we saw two raptors perched on this "foot bridge." But by the time I got my camera focused only one of them was perched. Not sure, but I think they were both juvie red-tails. Photos were hard to take with only a 10x zoom. Most birds and waterfowl were quite "shy" of human presence. My husband and I had to chuckle that every time we stopped and I tried to get out of the car for a picture, the birds would take off, or at best would move farther away. I think you can click on the photo to see a larger picture.
In the course of the day, we managed to see (and able to identify) Calif Quail, more Am White Pelicans, swallows (I think they were cliff swallows), egrets (mostly great egrets), black neck stilts, red-winged blackbirds, white-faced ibises, double-breasted cormorant, American avocets, black-crowned night heron, and even a robin or two.
In the water, I also saw a couple of muskrats. Isn't this one cute?

Below, a silhouette of a red-tailed hawk. At least we thought it was a red-tail.

Wednesday's photos (Jul 11th) will follow in another post.


RuthieJ said...

Wow, Mary, those are nice pictures! I especially like the Quail with his cute little forehead plume.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Your photos turned out excellent!
Musky is wonderful!!
I love seeing your birds. so different from mine.
Looking forward to more pics.
Thank you, this was fun.

Mary said...

All of these birds would be lifers for me, Mary! (except for the red-tail) Great photos! I rarely see shorebirds.

My husband laughs at me, too, when I run through the house to get the camera only to find my mystery bird has disappeared! LOL!


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