Saturday, January 2, 2010

All-day birding trip




So far, I really like 2010. Yesterday I went on an all-day birding trip through rolling hills, ranchland, and canyons. My sister and I go every year, but this was our first time taking the trip on New Year's day. We always stop at Mercey Hot Springs to see the wintering long-eared owls roosting in the tamarisks. It's one of the highlights of the day. I finally took the time to read the user guide for my digital camera the night before the trip so I could get good shots of the owls. This one is my favorite. He seems to be looking right back at me.

It's so good getting away from strip malls and traffic and city noise. There aren't too many other people on the backroads, and as I gaze out the window at the endless scene of undeveloped land my mind begins to calm and the tension in my body melts away.

This was the scene where we sat and ate lunch. Those hills in the background looked unreal, like a painting of a landscape. I think I could have sat there and looked at the hills all day.

In the afternoon we visited the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge, a birder's paradise. Among the many birds we saw on the five mile auto tour through the wetlands were Tundra Swans, Great Blue Herons, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Western Meadowlarks, Black-necked Stilts, a variety of migrating ducks, and one very exciting Loggerhead Shrike (I had never seen one before and was quite thrilled). We also got to watch a beautiful young coyote romp and play in a field.



As the sun went down I could hear the soft hooting of an owl in the distance.



All in all, a heavenly day.

12 comments:

Ronna said...

Love the photo of the long-eared owl. I've never seen one before. Coolio! And Happy New Year to you. Thanks for sharing.

Rachel said...

How beautiful! Look at that snow-less scenery. Jealous.

Linda said...

Hi Stacy,
Your 2010 has been wonderful so far, what beautiful photos you have shared! I love the one of the long-eared owl! I absolutely adore owls...
Have a wonderful week,
Warmly
Linda

Tammy James said...

It looks and sounds lovely Stacy, thank you for Sharing.

Jane said...

Wow, spectacular photos. Thanks, from dreary, grey/white Ohio

Thimbleanna said...

Sounds like a perfect day! That photo of the owl is gorgeous - he's so beautiful!

Theresa said...

Holy Cow... What beauty! I love all of the pictures but of all, my favorite is the sunset. Girl, you really did a good job with the camera. Enjoy your Sunday!

Twyla and Lindsey said...

Wow! Heavenly, indeed! The scenery is incredible and your pictures are great. Glad you had such a nice time. Enjoy your day! Twyla

Suz said...

Look Out!!!!!!!
What fabulous photos...you are good!
Hey, those are the long earred owls that were in my Illinois Pines last January!
Tell 'em to get going..I'm waiting for them to return

Dogwood said...

You are getting to be a master photographer! Wow, those shots are wonderful. I need a lesson. What a fun day with your sissy. A wonderful way to welcome in the new year. I have been having fun watching all the birds at our feeders and suet hanger. I love birds!

Enjoy your day!

PunkiePie said...

Wow. Those pictures were fantastic! I'm relaxed now just by looking at them! The owl pic is my fave. That's awesome!

Woollywotnots said...

Wow what a beautiful way to spend New Year's Day. So magical. Your photos are beautiful, Stacy. You're such a talent. Thanks for sharing. What a beautiful place.