Tuesday, February 21, 2012

With Talons Locked

Snow Geese can be found in abundance throughout much of the country, but they still make for good pictures.

Welcome to another glorious and life-changing edition of Bourbon, Bastards and Birds. Today we bring you some scenes from Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, a Shangri-La for waterfowl, raptors and other marsh denizens.

After going to see the Falcated Duck a few weeks ago, the next logical step was doing a loop around the Sacramento refuge. The usual tens of thousands of birds were out doing their thing...mulling, milling, wallowing...letting it all hang out. The definite highlight was the Bald Eagle airshow (see below), but there were plenty of other birds to gawk at.

Massive congregations of diminutive Ross' Geese winter at the refuge. Or perhaps they are diminutive masses?

 The refuge is thick with Northern Harriers.

A lot of Bald Eagles were out, striking fear into the hearts of ducks, geese, terrorists, communists, etc.

And then they decided to do pull a National Geographic stunt...

Cool right?! At this point I broke into tears and wept openly as other birders passed by and pointed and laughed . 

Brittany is modeling a Zeiss scope, Bogen tripod, Leica binoculars and Nikon DSLR with Nikkor lens. Wicked.

Cinnamon Teal are one of the many waterfowl species that exist that are more interesting looking than Mottled Ducks. The downside is that everyone misidentifies females as Blue-winged Teal. Pretty much every birder has done this at some point, with the obvious exception of myself (Number 7 here, hello).

Turkey Vulture. What can we say about Turkey Vultures? They lack voice boxes and their chicks look like this. Adorbz.


  1. That's a pretty cool air-show, and no plains even crashed into an unsuspecting audience!
    That's especially intriguing because I thought the Eagles did that claw-clasped death spiral when looking for a mate, but those eagles don't seem to have there full adult plumage yet.

  2. Totes precosh. It looks like one of those birds is a first year individual too. I would have been honored to collide with a pair of eagles, but I think some stitches might have been needed.

  3. Wow! How can that not be on every birder's bucket list? Or every person's bucket list? In fact, why isn't everybody outside right NOW waiting for it to happen?!

  4. I usually make the opposite mistake and assume they are all cinnamon teal. That is why I am not sniffing the Fortune 500 of birding.

    Eagle fight! Badass! I think this is a sign that bodes well for our Democracy and forth coming war with what ever next Eagle hating heathens piss us off.

    1. JK - your assumption is a far better alternative to misidentifying them the other way around. It is the correct misidentification.

      Maybe the eagle fight is a sign of Civil War...

  5. Awesome eagle show... Yeah. And man that is a lot of gear on your lady friend.. I would quit birding if I had carry all that shit around. I hate carrying shit. Hate it. I'd carry a Cinnamon Teal around though. No doubt.

    1. You need a scope Jen! Don't deny it! Long walks with the camera and scope is not terribly fun though.