After spending the morning at San Luis National Wildlife Refuge we headed to the Merced Unit.
While Hubby napped, I took my camera up to the viewing platform. It wasn't nap time in this pond, it was feeding time. It can be hard to id birds with their heads in the water but I believe we have some Dunlin and a pair of Cinnamon Teals.
Another birder called my attention to this guy, saying it is a common snipe. I'll take her word for it. Even with all of my field guides I am often unsure of shore bird id. To my eye many are quite similar and the field marks subtle. Identification often falls to a single characteristic and juveniles may not display it.
From the viewing platform my attention was drawn to a very different sight. This cowman had roped a calf, I think he was trying to tag it. His well trained quarter horse kept the rope tight.
Back to birding, I spotted the Cinnamon Teal with his head out of the water. I like that splash of color on his back and his red eye.
When nap time was over, we headed out on the auto tour. There was an amazing variety. The Northern Shoveler picked his head up out of the water just long enough for me to get a shot of his large bill and blue-green head.
We ran into a road block. A flock of White Faced Ibis were reluctant to leave the road. I know, they don't have a white face but the guides say they will in breeding season. Nearby was a huge flock of Sandhill Cranes. They were backlit, though and the image I shared last week from San Luis was much better.
I spotted over a dozen birds in these tules and another flying by. What were they?
Black Crowned Night Herons, both mature and immature.
The same pond was host to a flock of American White Pelicans.
I think Pintails are elegant looking birds and this one seems to agree. Doesn't he look self satisfied?
We saw another one floating with a flock of Snow Geese.
It was a wonderful day of birding and wildlife viewing. I hope to return before the season is over, but then, there are a lot more refuges in California to explore.
You can see more of our amazing world by going to Our World, Tuesday, hosted for us each week by Arija, Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy.
To see more birds, check out World Bird, Wednesday, hosted by Springman.