The referenced Spain recap is being temporarily held up as I am now in San Francisco searching for an apartment ahead of our upcoming Bay Area move. I'm here for a few more days, then back to LA for 2 days before heading to Belize and Guatemala for the following 10 days. We'll move after that trip and then - finally - things will settle down a bit. At that time, I'll crank out the Spain recap (to be followed thereafter by the Belize/Guatemala recap).
I did en route to SF collect the now long-staying Emperor Goose in Pacifica. The bird was initially reported to the birding community by a non-birding local on January 24th. In the days that followed, the bird behaved very predictably, as though it already had an established routine. This suggested that the bird might have been present well before the 24th and therefore might be wintering in that precise spot. Knowing that I would be SF in early March, I decided to forgo chasing the bird in that last week of January. That strategy paid off, and I was this week rewarded with my first ABA bird of 2017!
ABA seen bird #714 - Emperor Goose!
(Record shot only, shooting east, into the morning sun)
He's the normal range of Emperor Goose.
The above bird is well off course in CA!
Emperor Goose records away from Alaska.
The species is a rare but regular visitor to the Pacific Coast.
I will confess that seeing this magnificent bird on a California golf course was quite anticlimactic. Some of the lackluster was due to the fact the the bird behaved so predictably and was all but guaranteed to be found, but some of it was the precise setting in which I saw the bird. Emperor Goose is a rugged species, a species that survives on the edge of the world in the Bering Sea. I always figured that I'd see this species when I finally made it to Alaska, possibly as it winged its way past me at Nome, Gambel, or Dutch Harbor. I envisioned a small group of them fighting into the wind, winging over the churning waves with distant but unspoiled lands as a backdrop. Instead I got a golf course with dozens of adjacent houses. Don't get me wrong, I was stoked to see the bird, but the sighting just lacked some of the splendor that I had envisioned. I probably won't stop chasing would-be ABA life birds anytime soon, but I will try to appreciate observing species in their more usually habitats and haunts whenever possible. Just some thoughts. I'd love to hear yours on the same subject!
I'll leave you with another recent shot. I think this guy looks as though he was just caught with his hand in the cookie/acorn jar!
*click for higher resolution vew*
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Acorn Woodpecker - Melanerpes formicivorus
Orange County, CA
Canon 400mm f/4 IS DO II on EOS 1D Mark IV
1/2000 at f/8, ISO 800
That's it for now. Much more coming moving forward!