Friday, December 30, 2016

The Birds of Oak Creek Ranch

One of the first things I noticed, when we moved here, was the abundance of birds.  My knowledge of birds is pretty elementary -- I can identify hummingbirds and hawks and crows.  I noticed that the blue jays here are different than in Southern California, as are the bluebirds.  And then there were tons of these interesting spotted sparrow sized birds -- I looked them up: spotted towhee.  So, I learned a very few.
California Towhee

We had a pair of old binoculars; a freebie gift from somewhere.  They were more trouble and hindrance than help, so I gave up on them pretty quickly.  I enjoyed the birds, but stopped trying to identify them, for the most part, because I couldn't get a close enough look to identify anything more than size and general color.
Black Phoebe

When Brett and I were in Mendocino in November, there were a pair of binoculars in our room.  The morning before we left, we walked down to the bench sitting at the edge of the bluff overlooking the ocean.  I grabbed the binoculars on our way out the door.  We traded them back and forth, looking at the waves breaking over the rocks and the rip tides colliding.  I noticed a bird flying overhead.  It was some kind of raptor and I pointed the binoculars in its direction.  It was an epiphany for me -- the bird was clear, with its colors and markings visible.  I was enthralled and amazed.  I had no idea that a decent pair of binoculars could be so helpful.

Back home, I researched binoculars for birding.  I found a pair with excellent reviews and highly rated by the Audubon Society.  Brett said he would get them for me for Christmas.

Sure enough, Christmas morning there were binoculars for me under the tree.  We celebrated Christmas with Kyle and Camille on Wednesday and, after opening the binoculars,  I promptly ordered a bird journal so I can write down the birds I identify.  This morning, as I was mucking, I heard Canada geese flying overhead.  I thought to myelf; "Aha!  My first entry."

Then, I came back inside and tried to identify the birds in the pictures that Steve took when he and Heather were visiting.  (He took the photos in this post)


  1. I love watching the birds too. I can't wait to hear more about what you see!

  2. Sounds like you are in for a good time with your new hobby.
    Happy New Year to you and Brett! I'm sure you will not let any grass grow under your feet....always busy.

    1. That's really appropriate Lori! As you were probably writing this, I was outside mowing about an acre of grass, just because. Don't want my lawn mower to sit too long. Nice yesterday and today, then calling for rain and snow thru next Friday. Between 11" and 20" of snow.

  3. But which raptor did you see on your trip? and this is an amazing sight. Not sure if Audubon does have cams on this also. EXPLORE.ORG

    1. The raptor I saw on our trip was a red tailed hawk. I loved looking at the markings.

  4. The binoculars are a great gift! I have a bird feeder outside my kitchen window and like watching all the different birds. I can identify a few of the more common ones. Have fun!

    Happy New Year to you and Brett and all the critters at your place!

  5. An American in TokyoJanuary 3, 2017 at 5:41 PM

    I love birds as well!!
    I think my finch at home has picked up some weird sounds from the local ravens. Sometimes he has this nasty sounding call and so I say, "Hey, don't imitate those guys! They are the bad guys!" ha ha!


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