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Trip Report: Elkhorn Slough

16 Mar

Saturday, I had the joy of going out to Elkhorn Slough (pronounced “slew”) — my favorite place to bird — and doing an all day training out there.  I can now take my classes out there for field trips!  Hurrah!

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Elkhorn Slough Reserve used to be a dairy and before that it was a gun club.  This shot was taken from inside the old milking barn.  There are two Barn Owl nest boxes inside.  There are signs of nesting in one of the boxes.  In all my visits, I’ve never had the joy of seeing an owl, sigh.  There are also Great Horned Owls that nest in one of the Eucalyptus Groves. Owl pellets abound inside the barn.

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This pictures was taken at the end of the day.  We hiked over much of this land.  It’s so rich with life.

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Saw a Song Sparrow.  I also saw a Common Yellowthroat .  .  . life bird for me.

Leopard Shark

Not only bird life abounds at the Slough.  This Leopard Shark was a thrill for all of us.  You can see broken bottles in the water . . . this was a dumping ground when the Reserve was a Dairy.

Egrets & Cormorants II

While we had lunch on Hummingbird Island, I saw this odd flock come in and land on the water in front of us.  They don’t normally allow food on the trails but made an exception for us.

Suncups

Pretty Suncups (Camissonia ovata) on Hummingbird Island

The day was exhausting but wonderful.  I saw a lot, learning a lot, hiked a lot.  I saw a lot of birds:

Canada Goose – Branta canadensis     2
Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos     8
Bufflehead – Bucephala albeola     10
Common Merganser – Mergus merganser     1
Western Grebe – Aechmophorus occidentalis     1
Double-crested Cormorant – Phalacrocorax auritus     10
Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias     1
Great Egret – Ardea alba     8
Snowy Egret – Egretta thula     4
Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura     4
White-tailed Kite – Elanus leucurus     1
Northern Harrier – Circus cyaneus     1
California Gull – Larus californicus     X
Forster’s Tern – Sterna forsteri     10
Anna’s Hummingbird – Calypte anna     3
Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon     1
Black Phoebe – Sayornis nigricans     4
Western Scrub-Jay (Coastal) – Aphelocoma californica californica     2
American Crow – Corvus brachyrhynchos     4
Common Yellowthroat – Geothlypis trichas     2   **LIFER**
Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia     4

More pictures and stories will follow.

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