Another Walk at Lake Ralphine/Spring Lake

Part of what makes the Lake Ralphine-Spring Lake walk so attractive, besides the good workout, is that you never know what kind of birds you will see there.  On our previous visit, the dock at the beginning of the hike was full of Bufflehead, but on our second walk, they had been replaced by male Common Mergansers in breeding plumage.

I have never managed to get closer to one of these than I have repeatedly at Lake Ralphine.  

I looked for the Mute Swan that is often at the dock, but it was way on the other side of the lake.

We didn’t see any small birds on this walk, but we did see a Red-shouldered Hawk, another bird I’ve only seen here before.   

On our return leg, Leslie sighted a Night Heron, another bird we never see in Washington.

When we finally got back to the parking lot, the Mute Swan was so close that I couldn’t manage to fit it into the camera frame so I had to resort to a close-up of its head.

The many birds we see always make this 3.5 hike a joy — a favorite part of visiting Santa Rosa.