Our Last Day in Santa Rosa

On our last day in Santa Rosa we took a final loop around Lake Ralphine/Spring Lake.  We began by spotting a pair of Double-Crested Cormorants practicing their Tai Chi moves.  

At the end of Lake Ralphine we spotted a Mute Swan paddling around while another swan sat on the shore (nesting?).

Nearby was a Black-Crowned Night Heron hunting for a meal. I wondered if this was where the herons nesting in the Santa Rosa Nursery came to forage while a mate nested.  It seemed a long flight.

Back at the car, we finally caught a glimpse of the pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks that arre nesting in the parking lot.  

Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to focus on the hawk as it flew from the nest to get the squirrel its mate had brought back.  But after two days of getting nothing more than a shot of a hawk’s head barely sticking up above the edge of the nest, I was quite happy with this shot.

My Favorite Place in Santa Rosa

Doug and  Mary introduced me to Spring Lake many years ago, long before I took up birding.  I don’t think I’ve ever returned to Santa Rosa again without visiting it, often more than once.  Now days, the main attraction is the birds, particularly the Acorn Woodpecker

which I never see in Washington.   On this trip I discovered that the acorn is not the woodpecker’s source of food, something I’d never seen before.

Since I haven’t seen a Green Heron for over a year, I was looking hard in all the places where I’ve seen them in the past.  Instead, I had to settle for a female Wood Duck and her nine ducklings, who positively refused to sit for a group portrait

and the largest turtle I’ve ever seen at the lake.

No wonder Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake are beloved, and visited, by so many people.   

Acorn Woodpeckers are a Personal Favorite

Though we were just in Santa Rosa for a few days, long enough to attend Leslie’s high school 50th reunion, I wanted to walk around Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake at least once. Unfortunately, much of the park was closed when we got there. They were obviously cutting down several of the larger trees.

I immediately wondered if this would affect my bird in the park. If anything the Acorn Woodpeckers were busier than usual packing their larder for winter.

I’m always amazed at the number of acorns these birds manage to wedge into the bark of trees.

On this trip they were so busy collecting acorns that they were completely indifferent to me and my camera, and seemed more than willing to pose.