RANCH SAN RAFAEL - Seen 8/26/02 (Sorry, Bird Lessons Needed)
Wren(?) (Black and White Colored)
American Gold Finches
Red Tailed Hawk(?)
Red Tailed Hawks
Went to the north side at 7:00 to beat the dogs traffic but except for the wren types didn't see much but brewers 1-2 flickers, blackbirds, lots of hummers (but less than there has been), rock dove and goldfinches.
We did see the unID'ed bird that might be a wren (maybe warbler) that I just remembered. It was beautiful. Black/Dark Grey on top and slightly lighter under. It had long white cheek patch. and white. throat. Its beak was not as long a a bewicks but fairly long and slender. I forgot about it and didn't get a chance to find an ID as I left my book in a friends car again. But, I thought it was great anyway. I had to work hard to find it as it liked to stay well hidden working throught the trees and would only come out for brief flits between trees. It took forever to see as much as I did. But you could see the branches bobbing until it came back out. Let me know if you see or have seen anything like it?
We went under the trees more than usual to find the source of some different calls. Each time the calls were different and we kept finding the other wrens. They were up in brush under the fallen trees and hard to see. I am just assuming they were Bewicks. But, they didn't sound like the other ones I have heard. Also, did not sound like each other. But, did kind of look like each other. Tho they were darker, kind of carmel colored all over. That is darker than I remember for Bewicks? WHEW finding 'em is one thing, ID's are an entire other.
Those wrens were about the most interesting thing on that side as there are way too many people walking their dogs. That would be fine but they were mostly all off their leashes and they run the creek and scare everything away. Then the owners are yelling at them and calling them and there you go. It has never been as bad as yesterday. To be fair, that is besides the fact we went up to the monument to see hummers there and flushed a flock of the only other birds away ourselves. Looked reddish but they were too fast for us.
Went to the south side and pond and saw the PIED GREBE and several ducks(sp.) on the pond. There was a great KESTRAL on the big dead tree on the far side of the pond. It didn't move for quite a while. I think you will see why.
There was also a very nervous looking hawk in the tree right of the middle of the pond just above our heads. I am not good at ACCIPITORS especially "morphs" but guess it was a RED TAILED HAWK. It had an almost completely pale chest area with vertical streaking on the belly. I lost the other markings. Someone else came up and startled it away and we think we know why it was looking around so much and so nervously. Almost immediately, 2 other RED TAILED HAWKS came out and attacked, chased and nipped at it. Then one of them got above him and did a screaming eagle kind of feet first dive and hit our guy. He just barely hit him or he would have been a goner. The hawks looked like different types but we finally decided that they were just totally different "morphs". "Ours" was completely pale and the others were more like I am used to. At first, I thought it was a FERRUGINOUS HAWK since it was so pale but since it was the same size as the others (?). Sorry, we were watching the behavior and not ID marks.
To make matters more complicated, we saw another HAWK(sp.) in the trees over the last bridge before leaving the park past the"Ranch House". All I can think it was yet another, really dark, morph of the REDTAIL. It seemed completely calm and stayed there for quite a long time with many people passing under. It was still there when we left. Its back was dark grey streaked with black. It was almost completely dark grey on the underside with only a barely visible lighter slight streak accross the lower belly. It had a completely white undertail. The glimpse we got of the top of the tail looked like it had gradually widening stripes. It had really big green/yellow eyes and a pale beak and possibly the face as well.
Well, if they are all really RED TAILED, its a good variety for a lesson as I never would have thought they were the same kind.
Also, later while just walking the Truckee River Path/Walk saw a Turtle later Sunday on a rock by the Kirman Overpass. Saw a Magpie climbing around under the overpass where the pigeon nests. I am thinking he might be raiding nests? He wasn't actually do so when we saw him, but...
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