(Burrowing Owl Update Below)
Among the sharpest and most beautiful pictures of a White-tailed Kite in the park are these taken by a newcomer to these pages, Alex Milhano. He and Beata Milhano visit the park often, know their birds, and love to take photos. This bird was doing its trademark hovering act over the Nature Area on the north side of the park, not far from the Burrowing Owl Area. But the owl had little to fear from this raptor. The kite is a vole specialist, feeding almost exclusively on these little rodents that reproduce at fantastic rates. Alex’s photos show the bird’s beautiful tail spread wide, the dark area around the eyes, and the characteristic dark spots under the wing at the wrist. If the bird finds a prey creature, it will drop like a stone with the talons extended. You’ll find quite a few White-tailed Kite photos on this website, but this set is among the finest.
While walking in the park, Alex also took photos of some other creatures that he and Beata encountered. Here are three of them: an American Pipit, a California Ground Squirrel, and a Western Meadowlark. All sharp and beautifully composed.
Burrowing Owl Update
The Burrowing Owl in the park stood once again in Perch B this wet and chilly morning. Half a dozen New York Times readers, all from Oakland, made the trip out to see it, and I had the pleasure of spotting the bird for them and answering questions. The owl appeared calm and relaxed, chiefly interested in tracking the flights of various gulls that circled overhead for reasons known best to themselves. With my equipment shut down for departure, an off-leash dog leaped over the fence into the owl reserve and roamed around, coming at one point within the owl’s vision. The bird got on both feet, alarmed and ready to take wing. Luckily the dog did not see the owl, and roamed away, eventually exiting the area by leaping over the concrete wall on the north end. Its owner yelled to it repeatedly. The dog completely ignored its master’s calls. (So much for “voice control.”) Two NY Times park visitors witnessed the scene, and one said she would write a letter urging construction of a more meaningful fence.