Sunday, November 15, 2015

Kicking Around Campus

Yesterday (Saturday) Maureen had to work for a little while. With nothing better to do, and since we could head over to Finley NWR right after, I commuted down to Corvallis with her, and spent a couple of hours lugging her camera with me all across campus. There's nothing terribly exciting to see here, but I also didn't want these photos to just go to waste, so here you go!

I'd actually planned on reading while I waited (The Wilderness Warrior, by Douglas Brinkley), but a pair of Spotted Towhees started cavorting around me as soon as I was about settle on a bench. Once I actually grabbed the camera, though, I ditched the Towhees in favor of an Anna's Hummingbird that perched right in front of my face. Such a prima donna.

By the time the hummer and I had finished with one another, the Towhees had flown out toward the street. This time it was a White-breasted Nuthatch that stole my attention away. Overhead was a flock of Cedar Waxwings, and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to admire them more closely than most sightings generally allow.

Trying to relocate the Towhees, I saw a whole lot of activity in a nearby parking lot, so I wandered over to investigate. A couple dozen Dark-eyed Juncos had invaded a bush chockablock with bright red berries and were gorging themselves silly. Even though the Towhees had started the whole series of events, I never actually got a decent shot of them.

At Finley NWR, we headed straight for the prairie overlook, where some good birds had been reported recently. Our main target was White-tailed Kite, which we hadn't seen since a day-trip we'd taken to Galveston, TX in December, 2010. In the interim, we'd worked up quite an appetite for them. Maureen eventually spotted one just as we were about to give up and walk back to the car. The other raptors weren't quite as shy: Northern Harriers, Rough-legged Hawks, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Bald Eagle, and American Kestrels who all made an appearance over our nearly two hours at the overlook. Distant raptors on an overcast day doesn't make for great photography, but I'll leave you with a this Golden-crowned Sparrow that was more than happy for a chance in the spotlight.

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