(Burrowing Owl Update Below)
The 7-acre “Nature Area” on the north side of the park has played host to a variety of birds, from a Burrowing Owl (in past years) to various raptors and songbirds. This is the first time I’ve seen Canada Geese on this meadow. These big birds live in the Marina year round, and we see them from time to time on the North Basin. We also saw a small flock when there was a water leak along the paved path on the east side. Note that three of the birds in this photo have their eyes turned left toward the fence and the bizarre gap in the fence, with dog owners and their pets on the other side. The area is posted as off limits to people and dogs, with a fine as a penalty. But loose dogs can and do charge through the gap and sometimes under the fence into the Nature Area. If cornered, Canada Geese can defend themselves. They are tough birds that can be dangerous even to humans, but they probably came here for a peaceful browse on fresh grass, not for a fight. When I returned to the scene half an hour later, all the geese were gone. I guess it didn’t feel safe enough for them.
Burrowing Owl Update
The Burrowing Owl remained in its tucked-away “Perch A” for a second morning today. It stood quietly under the arbor of the dried California Poppy shrub. With its quick and highly flexible neck, it tracked things flying across the sky and swiveled from side to side checking out sounds of possible interest that its super-acute hearing picked up. During the half hour that I filmed it, reduced to a minute in the video, the bird remained relaxed, standing on one foot, occasionally nodding briefly. It was a quiet time, unlike yesterday, when it had a visitor, put up with noisy shorebirds, and engaged in a lengthy preening session. Today was quiet, routine, another day in the life of a solitary bird spending the winter here, building its strength for its return to its breeding grounds somewhere north or northeast come next March.