Thursday, 15 August 2013

California St Luis NWR & Los Barios NWR - 29 July 2013 (part 3)

Day Nine - Moving on continued.

St Luis refuge & Los Barios

We hit the freeway out of Monterey and drove on through the central plain, miles and miles of fertile soil with extensive watering systems to combat the adverse dry conditions. California has ostensively been in drought conditions for the last five years.

Dry pools at St Luis

On arrival, the wetlands reserve was extremely dry in most parts, but a walk gave us tri-coloured Blackbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird with Blue Grosbeck a real bonus considering just how few birds were about. We only saw one but he was a corker of a male.American Bittern was heard booming in the distance.

We also saw our first diurnal Racoon ( although it didn't stay around for a photo), evidence of Western Rattlesnake, Crawfish, Monarch butterflies and Coyote on the exit road.

Racoon tracks along a ditch

Sidewinder track

Western Pigmy Blue

Red Swamp (Louisiana) Crayfish (Racoon prey option)

By now it was 5.30pm and still 33 degrees. We continued on and were amazed to find several wet pools on the edge of Los Banos reserve bordering the road and at the risk of being moved on by the Highway Police got American Avocet, Black-necked Stilts, Wilson's Phalarope, Least Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers, White-faced Ibis and three Logger-head Shrikes amongst others.

Los Barios pools

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile

The final stretch of the run to El Portal was completed after dark.We expected to find a big change in scenery the following day.