Peckers and Shovelers

Savannah Sparrow

Just a week ago I wrote that it’s a lucky day for a photo taker to get a Great Egret and a Snowy Egret in the same frame.  This morning I got a Great Egret and no fewer than three Snowy Egrets in one click, without even having to do any fancy maneuvering.  They were all lined up within a few feet of each other on the riprap along the Virginia Street extension, at the south end of the North Basin.  Not ten yards away, the first Ruddy Duck of the season (as far as I know) was napping on the water, occasionally pulling its head up and tweaking a groggy eye to check out the neighborhood. Its neighbors on and under the water included a foursome of Western Grebes, among the early arrivals for the season.  The Grebes belong to the genera of focus birds; that is, they can sense when your camera is just about to focus on them, and in 1/125th of a second they dive underwater.  About fifty yards from there, up in the sky, a White-Tailed Kite was doing its hover number.  I could easily see why in legend this bird was thought to be an angel or a ghost.  Yards away, on the ground, large warm-blooded bipeds of the featherless kind were busy shoveling a jumbo load of free Berkeley compost into buckets, bags, pickup trucks, and trailers.  I saw the Kingfisher on the wire again, and a hawk up on a pole at such a bad angle that I won’t print the photos.  But for me, the Bird that Made My Day was a sparrow.  A rather little one, with a smallish head with a ruffled top, and a small pinkish beak, and a yellow eyebrow.  I looked it up.  It has to be a Savannah Sparrow.  Who knew that they exist in Berkeley?  (Not me.)  

Great Egret with three Snowy Egrets
White-tailed Kite
Western Grebe


Berkeley Shovelers

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