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No, I'm not calling out a fellow Kossack.  Maybe I should say "Dreaming of Drier Days". Or "Dreaming of Better Reyes".

Whatever.  I'm just kinda looking forward to the time when I can spend a whole day out walking around looking for birds.  After a perfectly lovely January, we started getting a really wet weather pattern a month ago.  

A month ago, I was supposed to be heading to Elkhorn Slough and Big Sur with friends, but we backed down in the face of a forecast for heavy rain and hail.  The forecast is essentially the same this weekend (as it has been for all the intervening weekends, as well).  The main difference now is that all the rain has now closed the road to Big Sur for at least a month.

But I shouldn't whine.  The rain is good, and it's going to make for a wonderful spring.  And dreams of those bright green days are going to get me through the grey.

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BTW, this is also a reminder to Bay Area folks about birding Pt. Reyes on 4/23.  (Most of the pictures here today are from Pt. Reyes in the spring.)  If you're interested in making the trip, send me a message - and please include an email address so I can get back to you with details.

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Marin County, or County Donegal?

So, yeah... this rain is starting to get a little tedious.  But it makes the grass green, and I've noticed there are a lot of green grass fans in the bird world.  Okay, fine.  Rain is good.

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The rain water fills lots of seasonal ponds, too.  That means more spaces for the cinnamon teal to hang out.  Seriously, I get it - rain is good.  But couldn't it schedule for mid-week a little more, rather than all these weekends?

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Spring is time to sing, and the nice green vegetation provides fabulous contrast for bright red epaulets.  Show off that breeding finery!

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We don't have much longer with the shorebirds, but they're starting to sport their breeding colors, too, just in time for the flight home.  Black-bellied Plovers with actual black bellies!

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After everyone is done showing off, it's time to get down to the serious business of making a fresh batch of new birdies.  This redtail nest has been active in the same tree for many years now, and it's grown to be enormous - you can get a sense of the size by seeing how small her head looks peeking over the rim.  Or you can compare it to the house finches bopping around in the lower right - they're a bit more than 5" long, so that nest is close to 4' by now.  

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Wide open fields with lots of lush green grass, with older-style dairy operations in the middle means one thing for sure... lots of mice.  Lots of little barnyard birds, too, but especially those mice!

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... And where there are abundant mice, there are abundant hawks ....

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... and owls.  This one was hanging out across the road from a dairy.  There have been owls in those trees as long as they and the dairy have been there.

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Okay, well that brought me from the grey present to the bright green future.  Hard to believe spring birding is just a few short weeks away... I can't wait!

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Originally posted to lineatus on Sun Mar 20, 2011 at 06:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by J Town, WeeklyBUG, Birds and Birdwatching, and SFKossacks.

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