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Watching the environmental horror unfold in the Gulf is almost more than I can bear.  The small (by comparison) spill we had in the SF Bay a year and a half ago was horrible;  it's hard to fathom to scale of devastation to wildlife, ecosystems and people's livelihoods that's taking place right now.  Many better writers are covering the story; I can't add much meaningful to the discussion so today I'll just offer a momentary refuge from it all.

Brant, in Bodega Harbor

Thanks to juliewolf and tgypsy who hosted Dawn Chorus while I was away the past two weekends.

Two weekends ago, my husband was in Marshall, CA to help out with a program sponsored by the Maritime Radio Historical Society.  I had the opportunity to stay there with him - two nights along Tomales Bay at the peak of spring migration?  Okay.  It turned out that the first ever Pt. Reyes Birding Festival took place that weekend; I didn't sign up for any events, but I encountered a few field trips.  Perhaps in a future year...

And there were birds... lots of them.  Without much storytelling, here are just a few of the beauties I encountered...

A Brewer's Blackbird looks skyward before belting out a song.

The sentinel California Quail keeps an eye on things for his covey.  He was much more concerned with the herd of big mammals on the hiking trail than the big mammals behind him (one of the groups from the festival was there at the same time).

In coastal California, we normally only see loons in the winter.  I rarely see Common Loons in breeding plumage, and it's rarer still to hear them calling.  It was a real treat on this trip to start my days hearing a few calling on Tomales Bay.

Ospreys were everywhere, just starting to arrive and set up territories.  There was a pair right on the grounds of the conference center where we were staying - they were chattering and flying between two trees late Saturday afternoon.  (This one has a fistful of fish.)

Other raptors were well represented as well - redtails were everywhere.  A young one on the fence, along the road to McClure's Beach...

... and a gorgeous adult who sailed over head to remind me to look up, not just out to the water.

This is more typical of the loons we see here - not a lot of red showing on this Red-throated Loon...

... but this Red-winged Blackbird more than makes up for it.

Mammal break:  Pt. Reyes herd of tule elk, enjoying the beautiful spring day.

I know some find find them unattractive, but I have come to appreciate the simple elegance of Turkey Vultures (as long as I don't dwell on their habits too much).

From TV's to a real TV.  I saw a tube sitting in the water at McClure's beach, and decided I'd haul that piece of trash back and toss it.  Then I discovered that a group of mussels had created their own version of "reality TV".

Young White-crowned Sparrow say thanks for stopping by...

Originally posted to lineatus on Sun May 09, 2010 at 06:07 AM PDT.

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