Meadow Visit

(Burrowing Owl Update Below)

A few years ago we had a lot of rain in March, and it made sizeable ponds in the Berkeley Meadow (aka Sylvia McLaughlin Eastshore State Park), and somehow several species of ducks found the ponds and gathered there. On March 4 2017 I walked the Meadow and saw Northern Pintails and Green-winged Teal, and a few days later, Northern Shovelers, American Wigeons, and Mallards. Two years later, I saw some of the same birds in rain ponds in the same area. So it was with some curiosity that I walked the Meadow trails on Sunday Jan. 15. Well, the area had plenty of ponds, including some on the trail in. Before I came within lens range of some of the largest ponds, I saw both of our local phoebes within a few minutes of each other:

I also met a birder equipped with binoculars and spotting scope who was stalking a rumored Phalarope, reported on one of the ponds in the Meadow. Neither of us managed to spot this bird. Phalaropes are not often seen here but are thought to have been thrown here by the storms. Then I swung around the big bend in the path and saw the pond that borders the fence. A pair of Mallards were bobbing heads up and down in what must be a courtship dance. Several other Mallards were busy dabbling. Three or four American Wigeon males and in the distance some females also appeared. They all seemed to find good pickings in these seasonal ponds. I did not see any of the more exotic duck species. It’s worth checking there again to see who shows up.

Mallard and American Wigeon in Berkeley Meadow 1/15/2023

Burrowing Owl Update

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) Jan. 16 2023

The Burrowing Owl this Monday morning at around 9:30 remained in Perch B, same as yesterday and the day before. It looked like it survived the series of atmospheric rivers in good shape. With just one more day of rain showers in the forecast, the bird looks to have some of the temperate weather ahead that it probably came here to enjoy. We don’t know where it came from, but very likely the weather up there is much worse at its best than our rainstorms at their worst. Fargo, North Dakota, for example, is below freezing and has several feet of snow on the ground. Anchorage AK is even colder with snow flurries. Berkeley by comparison feels positively toasty. My video shows a minute of highlights from a 20-minute sequence with the camera running unattended.


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