Do You See What I See?

Although the Acorn Woodpeckers took front-stage on our trip around Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake, there were lots of supporting acts. 

Considering how many people walk those trails, I’m amazed at the number of birds I find there this time of year.  Here’s a small sample of what I saw on my walk.

Three male Bufflehead, 

one Swainson’s Thrush, 

one Great-tailed Grackle, 

several Yellow-Rumped Warblers,

and one very camera-shy Night Heron.

Loren loves Acorn Woodpeckers

We had so many things planned on our recent trip to Santa Rosa that, unfortunately, I only managed to get one walk around Lake Ralphine and Spring Lake.  

Luckily it was a great walk which began immediately when we were greeted near the parking lot by several Acorn Woodpeckers. 

The woodpeckers seemed unusually busy gathering nuts.  I think that is because park workers had cut down the tree where they had previously stored their acorns.  But, for whatever reason, they weren’t shy on this visit, ignoring me as they searched for acorns,  

gathered them, 

and stored them away in a nearby tree.

I suspect they were ignoring me because they were hurrying to gather as many nuts as possible before the crowds started appearing. There wasn’t a single woodpecker to be seen when we returned from our walk.

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.