Saturday, January 18, 2014

Charleston Slough Birding Trip

18 January 2014

Enjoyed another beautiful sunny morning birding with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society in Mountain View, California at Charleston Slough and Shoreline Lake.  Leader Steve Tracey guided the group, and the first stop rewarded everyone with surprising, very splendid views of an adult SORA moving out from the protective reeds and walking directly in front of us well into the open marsh area.  This normally reclusive rail seldom shows itself so openly and in the sunlight!   Amazing to watch this bird feeding and walking the marsh for several minutes, before the loud noises of nearby roosting Black-crowned Night-Herons finally scared him back into the reeds.

Sora ~ feeding well out into the open marsh away from protective reeds

At a creek overpass, I noticed a splashing AMERICAN COOT making a fuss... and was lucky enough to capture this image just as the bird was about to eat this crayfish.  After lots of thrashing by both bird and crayfish... the show was over within 30 seconds... and the creek had one less crayfish. 
 American Coot ~ crayfish lunch time

At nearby Shoreline Lake, this adult RING-BILLED GULL flew by in a hurry with a complete mollusk in its mouth... with other gulls chasing and hoping the mollusk would fall so they could get it.  The mollusk didn't fall, and I assume this gull enjoyed his lunch assuming he could pry it open!

 Ring-billed Gull ~ escape with a mullosk

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