American Bittern, Common Snipe, 20 + Bustits, Belted Kingfisher & and a wonderful Northern Goshawk encounter.

Observers: Douglas Dunaway
Verification: sierra
Remote Name:
Date: 12/01/2006
Time: 05:00 PM -0500


Today, instead of doing my regular walk on Sunland Indian Res. Rd., I decided to drive out to the canal off Dixon Lane. Walking south, the first birds encountered were several Ruby Crowned Kinglets in the overhanging willows and White Crowned Sparrows on the banks.The ever present mewling of Spotted Towhees in the underbrush and one sighting. Heard a tapping in the willows and located 3 Downy Woodpeckers busy eating bugs from the smaller diameter limbs, and 2 Red-Shafted Flickers hammering in the deadwood. I then flushed the American Bittern and while I was watching it fly south above the water, I heard the Kingfisher and was able to see it coming towards me, twice splashing the water, which was very dramatic with the backlignting from the sun. He did'nt catch anything, but perched across the canal and bawled me out. Shortly after, I flushed the Common Snipe. Just before the foot bridge, a flock of Bustits flew in to the Willow trees, and then went right over my head eastward into the rabbitbrush. They are so small! On the way back, 1 beautiful American Coot watching me from the reeds, where I flushed the Bitter again. Wow, I thought this was surely enough for a short walk, but heading back, a small rail of some kind flushed from my side of the canal and was attacked by the Norther Goshawk. The rail got away, and I froze, so the Goshawk didn't see me and perched on a dead limb directly across from me--not more than 16 feet! We eye-balled each other for awhile, then it settled down and I was able to scope it for some time. Finally, I just had to leave, but amazingly the Goshawk sat and watched me walk past. It was still perched when I got to my truck. Whew! I am going to take a nap now!