My World is a world of birds and birding. In quest of Big January I have gone birding almost every day this month. Last Wednesday I decided to visit Sweetwater Wetlands where I hoped to pickup some new species of birds. Sweetwater is undergoing some maintenance right now, so the main parking lot and front ponds are closed, but the County has set up temporary parking down the street with an alternative access to the back ponds. Most people come to Sweetwater to see ducks and the resident family of Harris Hawks, but many smaller species live in the cattails, rushes and willows. When I arrived the heavy machinery was right near the road and I had to walk past it to access the trails. I wondered how there could be any bird here, but I was pleasantly surprised. The ponds are full of hundreds of Northern Shovlers as well as Wigeons, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks and Coots. Around the edges of the ponds today a display is set up with a group of school children learning about the wetlands and how they work. I walk the perimeter quietly and wait for the silence to come. Soon the school children leave and most of the early birders. I am almost alone here now and the birds emerge from their hiding places to feed in safety once again.
..then repositioned the bug...
Apparently this Ruby-crowned Kinglet likes them as well as it creeps along a willow twig looking for lunch. To me it looks like a birdy bouncing ball along a willow musical staff with green-leafed notes hanging down in some woodsy song. Do you know the melody perhaps?
These tall eucalyptus trees along the Roger Road Waste Treatment Plant are their favorite lookouts. The family of five nests in one of them. Harris Hawks are unique in that they hunt cooperatively as a family. I have seen at least 3 of them today with one carrying a twisted stick into the tree to replenish the nest.
I snap a few shots, then walk farther down the shore to get the bird in better light. The bird doesn't seem to care at all as it sits atop its chosen perch and preens away in the sunlight.