I’m not much of a traveler and am probably happier hiking up in the nearby Cascades than traveling to exotic lands. Still, it strikes me that one of the best reasons to travel to new places is to discover new things.
I’ve been to Santa Rosa far too many times to consider it “new” in any real sense, but I haven’t been there since I started watching birds seriously. So, I wasn’t surprised to see birds that I haven’t seen before, like yesterday’s mockingbird, a bird I’ve only read about before.
Strangely, I also saw a number of “local” ducks that I’ve never seen in the places I hike here in the Pacific Northwest. For instance, as soon as I saw this little duck:
I knew that I’d never seen it before and took numerous shots in an attempt to get a good enough one to identify it. I’m not entirely positive, but where it was would seem to indicate that this is a female Ruddy Duck, which, while not as exciting as seeing a male Ruddy Duck still made the walk around Spring Lake more exciting that it would otherwise have been.
I also managed to see my first ever male Lesser Scaup,
a bird I’ve often confused with the Ring-Necked Duck that I see quite often at Nisqually.
It was a cloudy day when we went to Bodega Bay, but I was still thrilled to watch all the Snowy Egrets and Great Egrets feeding in the adjoining wetlands. Still, this shot of a solitary Willet feeding in the surf was probably the highlight of the day:
Though I’ll have to admit that I was equally thrilled to watch a pair of Common Loons a few feet away at eye level as they dove and surfaced:
None of these birds are unknown here in the Pacific Northwest, though I suspect they’re more common in California during the winter than they are here during the summer.