Early Fall

The last few weeks have been a little hectic for me and I haven’t been able to go birding as much as I want. It seems that the days that I could get out were dark and dreary days with heavy clouds and lots of rain.  The rain was pretty wide-spread and Meredith certainly benefited from it. The water level is higher than it’s been in 14 years at a little over 63 feet. Unfortunately this makes it harder to get to the spots where birds congregate-You have to use a boat to get to the areas they feed and rest at.

Here’s a few pictures I was able to get from around Hutchinson and Carson counties over the last few weeks.

These are Black-crowned Night-Herons I saw in a small playa in Carson county a few weeks ago. The first one is the only time I’ve seen one swimming, they usually wade around in the shallows or stand on rocks or branches or something waiting for a frog or fish to swim by.Black-crowned Night Heron (2) (1024x620) Black-crowned Night Heron (3) (1024x667)

Here’s a Black-necked Stilt at a nearby, larger playa.

Black-necked Stilt (17) (1024x667)

These American Wigeons (also some Ring-billed Gulls, Mallards, Blue-winged Teal and American Coots in the background) were at the south end of Lake Meredith. I paddled my kayak for about 45 minutes from the nearest launch site to get these, I had taken the camera out of the dry bag about 10 minutes before I got to this area and had gotten some lake water on the lens. I didn’t have anything but my t-shirt to clear the water off the lens and it smeared a bit around the edges, giving this picture a tilt-shift look.  This is also an unusual angle for me to be taking bird photographs, sitting just a few inches off the water. Usually my shots are from the shore looking down at the birds or up into a tree or something.American Wigeon (1) (1024x653) American Wigeon (11) (1024x527)

Red-winged Blackbirds in sunflowers in a field in Carson Co.Red-winged Blackbird (88) (1024x699)

A Yellow-headed Blackbird in with the Red-winged BlackbirdsYellow-headed Blackbird (37) (1024x684)

Ruddy Ducks in a playa in Carson Co.Ruddy Duck (74) (1024x660) Ruddy Duck (76) (1024x684)

A Juvenile Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) I saw while hiking a trail on the south end of Lake Meredith near Harbor Bay. That tree that he’s in is a salt cedar, an introduced species that has almost taken over the wetlands around here. They began a spraying program several years ago to try to control them, but they are still everywhere. They use an amazing amount of water and crowd everything else out.IMG_9357

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