A nice looking late season storm is about to arrive!
Crows are such trouble makers… This one decided to antagonize a pair of American Kestrels by seeing how close it could land and creep up to this one. Other than staring at the crow, the kestrel was smart and didn’t react to the crow’s antics. Frustrated, the crow flew off and tried to land next to the female kestrel, who was perched at the very top of the dead pine. Fortunately for her, there wasn’t room to land. In defeat, the crow decided to land on an adjacent branch. I’m not sure about the kestrels, but I know that I got a good laugh watching the crow try to land on the thin dead branch only to have it break and fall. That was the last straw for the crow, and it flew away in disgust.
We took a quick trip to the Carpinteria Salt Marsh on Saturday. Most of the marsh is part of the University of California Natural Reserve system, and is closed to the public; however a portion of it is owned by the Land Trust for Santa Barbara County and is open to the public. I had heard reports of a red fox in the area, and with all the recent rains we hoped to at least find some tracks. No luck on that front, but we were rewarded with so nice light and cooperative birds. The highlights were seeing every kind of Teal, a couple Northern Pintails, and even a Surf Scoter preening very close to the beach. A couple dolphins were also seen lounging and barely moving just offshore. All in all, it was a very nice morning trip.
“Cinnamon Teal” – Carpinteria Salt Marsh
Wow, I can’t believe we are already well into June. May was filled with travel and I apologize for not updating the blog in so long. I don’t think I’ve ever traveled to such a variety of places in such a short period of time. The month started with a weekend trip up to Big Sur in which the highlights were seeing at least five California Condors, numerous Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, and a trio of Black-tailed Deer. We even found some fresh Bobcat tracks and scat, but didn’t see any cats… maybe next time.
A couple weeks later we headed further north and ended up in Yellowstone National Park. If you are a fan of large wildlife, mid-May is the time to be there. In addition to thousands of Bison with calves and plenty of Elk; we saw Grizzlies with cubs, many Black Bears, Coyotes, Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn, and my first Wolves. What an amazing trip!
To cap off the month, I braved the Memorial Day weekend crowds and headed up to Sequoia National Park in the hopes of seeing some Bears. The trip was spectacularly successful, and I saw eight bears in about 2 hours on Sunday evening. If you are in California, I highly recommend getting up there soon while the bears are easy to find at the grassy meadows. They won’t be this concentrated for very long.
Here are a few photo highlights from the month.
“Elephant Seals” – San Simeon, California
A few days ago, we witnessed some interesting behavior by an American Crow. It was hopping around the branches of an oak tree, which seemed sort of strange, and the nearby songbirds were very upset and continuously calling in alarm. We assumed it was looking to steal the eggs or chicks out of a nearby bird’s nest. It looked like the crow knew a nest was nearby but didn’t know exactly where it was. All of a sudden the crow flew up to the upper part of the tree and disappeared from view. Moments later we saw it flying away with an entire bird nest in its beak. We tried following the crow but couldn’t find it again, so we returned to the scene of the crime to look for eggs or baby birds on the ground. Alas, we found nothing.
“American Crow” – This is not the perpetrator of the above crime, but is certainly guilty of some dastardly deed.
While doing some digital organizing, I realized that I have only posted a small fraction of my favorite images from last month. The bulk of my time was spent searching for the local bobcats. Day-by-day, they have become more difficult to find and with warm weather in the forecast I think they will become far less active during the day. Thankfully the warm weather should really kickstart the wildflowers and I hope to get out to as many of the hotspots as possible this season.
“Young Male Bobcat at Dusk” – Goleta, CA