Saturday, March 18, 2006
Low Impact Birdwatching
Since Robb has been practicing walking on uneven surfaces, I thought it might be fun for us to get out and do a little birdwatching. This afternoon, we went to Arrowhead Marsh near the Oakland Airport. This is one of those odd urban parks that is great for getting close to nature without driving for hours. Squint your eyes and ignore the industrial parks, and you'll be in awe if the biodiversity you can find in downtown Oakland. Among other things, this park is home to Burrowing Owls (we've never seen one) and California Clapper Rails (we see these about every other visit, but they are very elusive).
We parked the car, and Robb walked (using his cane -- we're realizing that the walker is not very useful on uneven terrain) along the paved path. The paving is great for bicyclist, and for slow walkers like Robb, but the gulls love it, too. They drop clams and mussels from great heights to get at the food inside. It is quite amusing to watch the gulls compete for food.
Although the birding wasn't spectacular, and Robb wasn't comfortable using binoculars due to his balance issues, we did see a huge number of species. We saw American Coots, American Wigeons, Buffleheads, Canada Geese, Canvasbacks, Cinamon Teals, Goldeneyes, a Great Blue Egret, various species of Grebes, Mallards, Phoebes, Scaups, Snowy Egrets, Surf Scoters (I adore these unlikely looking birds -- they look like someone vandalized their bills),Turkey Vultures, and Willets.
All in all, Robb didn't walk anything like a long distance, but it was exhausting, and we had a enjoyable outing. Sunny, windy, loads of birds. Nice.