Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Real Birder

February 23 to February 28

Thursday was one of those unexciting but necessary days — cleaning and laundry.

Friday was a bit more interesting as we attended the “First annual Titanium owners luncheon” in “the valley” (Our 5th wheel is a Titanium). The organizers were happy as approximately 60 people attended, most coming from Ontario (Titanium trailers are manufactured just outside of London, Ontario) though there were people from Michigan, Manitoba and New Brunswick. Ed and I had a fun time chatting to other Titanium owners.

Saturday was errand day and Sunday was lazy day — hanging around the trailer reading and then visiting with other people in the park.

Monday and Tuesday mornings were much more interesting as we attended a Bird Identification Workshop at the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge. The workshop was actually a 3 morning event, but we had to skip Wednesday as we were leaving the valley that morning. The workshop is giving by a volunteer who happens to be retired professor of Ornithology and boy does he know his birds. The first morning was in the classroom and Gene (the professor) kept us entertained with amusing stories, bird imitations and bird calls, as he imparted a lot of information. The second morning was spent walking some of the park’s trails. Gene was amazing — he could spot birds and identify them in a nanosecond, he could pick out individual bird calls from a melee of sounds and identify the birds. He was very excited and passed the excitement on when a number of hawks flew by giving us a show. I think we saw over 40 species of birds during our walk — at least 25 more than Ed and I would have noticed if we were on our own. I could have used a few professors like this when I was in university.

a Chachalaca (ortalis vetula) looks a bit large for this small feeding station at the NWR. These birds are only present in the USA in the Rio Grand valley area were we are, otherwise found only along Mexico's east side.

a couple of Least Sandpipers (calidris minutilla) the smallest of the peeps family, found along the trails of the Santa Ana NWR. See the birding workshop helps, you get to use some better names than "little brown birds"

Two turtles attack a Great Egret. These must be the "T-Rex turtles"

OK, according the professor, there is a: green winged teal, a blue winged teal, a cinnamon teal and perhaps a gadwall and something else, he talked faster than I could write, so forget asking me what the other ones are.

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