A Year on Clear Lake-Jul 20, 2013

A Day of Surprises — July 20, 2013

The peninsula is like life–you never know what is in store for you, what surprise is waiting around the corner. Today was a day of surprises and firsts. This Black-crowned Night Heron pictured above is the first I’ve seen on the peninsula. There have been a few along the shoreline leading to the entrance, but none on the peninsula, and especially not deep in the brush like this fellow.

I saw the first bluejay today, too–it was hard to get a decent photo of him. Just like the cardinals, the bluejay never stayed in one place for long.

Our family of racoons resurfaced, but only briefly. They disappeared into the brush quickly once they realized I was there. I did manage to snap a quick photo of the last one before it vanished, too.

But the biggest surprise of the day, and a fun find was the Willet and babies. I had reached the far end of the peninsula. The grasses are low there, about mid-calf high. It’s almost a given that I will find a Yellow-crowned Night Heron somewhere in this vicinity, and especially after rains like we have been having. True to form there were two YCNHs, including the old one. Looking out over the grasses I could see standing water glistening with the sun’s reflection, then suddenly I spotted movement – a Willet raised its head. Then I saw additional movement, and made out a small bird busy at work, but it was impossible to determine what it was. I snapped the photo hoping I had captured the bird, or birds. It wasn’t until I downloaded the photos at home that I saw there two baby willets. (Click on the photos to enlarge them.)

What a fun day! I loved the surprises.

Green Thought: As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens. ~Stephen Graham, The Gentle Art of Tramping