Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Lopez Lake - 2/20

I took a midday break from preparing my income tax return by riding south to Lopez Lake. It was a day of bright sun punctuated with the shade of large fluffy white clouds that passed over in the onshore breeze. The road south of San Luis rolled through picturesque farm land (like the vineyard pictured) and pasture, and then quickly up to the dam. Almost as soon as I could look down from the road onto the reservoir, I saw dozens of Common Mergansers (a brand new BIGBY bird). Nearby were cormorants, White Pelicans, and Buffleheads with other ducks and grebes. Acorn Woodpeckers called from some of the oaks, where they were busy moving acorns around. Ring-necked Duck (a target bird) was nowhere to be found on the still low water level lake. I also searched the sky and hillside perches for any Bald Eagles, but found only Osprey and Red-tails. I searched stands of trees along the park road for some new passerine since I was having no luck with 2 of my 3 my target birds. I did a Pygmy Owl whistle when I heard an odd call note, and was surprised when a Pygmy Owl answered. It called off and on for about 20 minutes, only showing itself briefly when it flew between pines. I also found a large oak tree with dudleya (a native succulent) growing on it, which is different than the rocky slopes the dudleya usually grow on. Happy with my brief look at year bird #2, I went to the lake store for lunch, but found out that they had no sandwiches, burritos or anything else for lunch other than snacks and drinks. I downed a carton of chocolate milk and some chips, and road back to work to continue on my taxes.

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