Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Latrobe Road

OK, this is total stream of consciousness, but I have to go to bed soon. We had a nice drive tonight down a dirt road that winds through oak woodland, then oak savannah, and finally just savannah. There are some beautiful rock formations in the oak woodland. We were in search of goatsuckers, owls, mammals, and anything/or anyone else that might be around. At the beginning of the drive, we saw Western Bluebirds on the fence line, and listened to the intense conversation of a group of Acorn Woodpeckers. White-crowned Sparrows sing all year, and it was wonderful to hear their sweet, swinging, sing-songy song as it grew dark. We found our goatsucker – we had a distant view of a Common Poorwill who treated us to its guinea pig-like call and then flew down the road. So cool! A few minutes later, and farther down the road, we had much better views of what was probably the same bird. It was hunkered down in the road, as goatsuckers are wont to do, and we were close enough to see its throat and mouth move a few times. Very cool! Other highlights include: several bats, a Great Horned Owl, Western Screech-Owl (heard only), a flyby of a Burrowing Owl, Cassiopeia in the Milky Way, Jupiter through our spotting scope, Bewick’s Wren, mallards, Rock Wren calling, Red-tailed Hawk, Black Phoebe, and a great acorn crop. The last two years have been bad for acorns, but this looks like it is going a great year – a mast year I think they call it. Acorns are so charming, that when they first start falling, I can’t stop collecting the caps.

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