Posted by: atowhee | October 18, 2014


Today our Rogue Valley Audubon sponsored trip visited a few more places described in my I-5 FREEWAY BIRDING book, and a couple places a bit off that map.
We saw a Western Kingbird today, much to our surprise. Click for those pictures and blog.
Here are some of the other birds we encountered:
ybm looks down

ybm peks down
ybm-cheek vu
Thia Yellow-billed Magpie, one of California’s much-beloved endemics, was in west Orland where I often recommend birders look to find this species (good directions in my book).
Note how hefty this beak is compared to the longer, more slender beak of its Black-billed cousin. This beak may be better suited for acorn crushing. The deep root of the beak inside the skull argyes for hefty jaw muscles to anchor and move it during use.
yb face-cup This individual flew toward us and watched us intently. Perhaps he is used to being fed by his human neighbors?
Northern Pintails are always one of the most numerous wintering ducks in the Sacramento River Valley. As a dabbler they are coping with the drought-induced shallow water. Not sure what divers will do. All the Ring-necked Ducks had confined themselves to a single deeper impoundment. No Bufflehead nor Ruddies yet.

ppintl paird Yes, this male has an unusual white spot on the side of his otherwise perfect visage. A leucistic touch?

This was about a 40 minutes drive from I-5 and east of the Sacramento River.
CRAN WAVE (1280x960)
The cranes were in Butte County at the north edge of Sutter Buttes. We suspect the noise of shotguns drove them into the air even though they were not the presumed target. BUTTEDS (1280x960)We have thought to go into Gray Lodge Wildlife Area but were completely out-gunned by the many duck hunters. We clung to the public road where we’d not be taken for drake or gander.
Here is what the Sacramento NWR looked like in one place
Here we have a Great Egret in upper left, Greater Yellowlegs–ever so much NOT greater than the egret–in lower right. Whie-faced Ibis in center. Black-necked Stilts scattered about the frame with a broken line of Long-billed Dowitchers across the middle ground. CLICK ON IMAGE FOR LARGER VIEW.
A pair of Ravens in consultation:
CORAVNS (1280x960)


  1. How much did you pay this Magpie to pose so nicely for you? m a

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