#526 and #527 at Fennessey Ranch

Saturday I was up even earlier to catch a 6:00 A.M. bus to Fennessey Ranch.

We arrived about 7:30, and took off in a trailer of hay bales pulled by a Swiss Army Truck. We hadn’t gotten one klick down the road, before they stopped to point out a flock of 20 or so Sandhill Cranes feeding at the far end of a field, #526:

Sandhill Crane standing in a field

Amusing that I got my life Whooping Crane before the much more common Sandhill Crane.

We continued along and saw many more interesting birds including Bald Eagle, Crested Caracara, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe, American Goldfinch, Vermilion Flycatcher, Orange-crowned Warbler, and Wilson’s Snipe; but my next life bird was only heard, not seen, though I spent a lot of time looking for it. This was the Black-crested Titmouse, which was busily singing Peter-Peter-Peter at multiple locations. I’d missed this one a couple of days earlier at the La Copita Ranch. That’s what comes of hanging out with photographers instead of birders. They don’t feel compelled to mention every common bird they spot in the bushes. Fortunately this trip had more birders than photographers, so little was missed.

We left the ranch too soon for my taste, but we had to get back for the afternoon events. I visited the Animal Rehabilitation Keep and the exhibits at the show. I was scheduled for another afternoon boat trip around the harbor, but I decided to go back to the jetty and look for Franklin’s Gulls and a rare Little Gull instead (no luck). Then I went on to explore Charlie’s Pasture, which was wonderful. The algal flats contained thousands of shorebirds, as well as many new species for the trip including Horned Lark, Black-bellied Plover, Semipalmated Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher, and Common Ground-Dove.

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