I went to McGinnis Slough once last month and then again on November 1. This post covers both outings, neither with an abundance of bird species in the water. But I was lucky to see some different land birds.
A word about today… I was grounded by the weather. We really needed the forecasted rain, but there was not enough of it. Instead we had high winds with gusts up to 60 miles per hour and it was scary enough being inside watching my trees swaying and holding their own against the gusts. There were some intrepid, likely disgruntled House Sparrows in the yard, but I removed all the feeders last night in anticipation of the rain, and I am sure they were perfectly capable of foraging for food for a day.
The first visit to McGinnis on October 11 was low on water and waterfowl species but there were at least three dozen Great Egrets on the far side. The trees were just starting to turn color.
The closest I could get to a photograph of a Great Egret was at a distance, with one set against a couple hundred American Coots. Coots were the water bird of the day, but they were all far away.
There was a Great Blue Heron wading in the shallow water.
Very early on I saw a Blue Jay swoop down into the grass like it was looking for something. It put the leaf back after picking it up.
Later I caught a Blue Jay in flight.
Here are a few more photographs of the male House Finch at the top of the post. House Finches have been more visible than they were all spring and summer lately.
Instead of the usual group of Wood Ducks, I saw only this one.
I did capture the distinctive silhouette of a Great Blue Heron in flight.
There was a Palm Warbler. I still can’t get over how strange this fall has been, seeing only one or two Palm Warblers here and there.
A Northern Cardinal was easy to spot in the diminishing leaves.
And a Yellow-rumped Warbler was pretty predictable for October 11.
I was trying to capture the enormity of the coot congregation but it was hard to do with all the reeds in the way.
Shortly before I left, two Sandhill Cranes flew over.
Just this past Tuesday, on November 1, the slough looked like this. Not a lot of birds of any kind in the water although thousands had been reported a few days earlier. So most of the birds I saw were on land.
I did manage to sort of get a distant photo of a Great Blue Heron.
American Goldfinches have been busy taking advantage of seeds and blending in well with them.
A Dark-eyed Junco posed for me.
European Starlings aren’t what you expect to see at McGinnis Slough.
There were a couple Song Sparrows.
I fussed over these next photos a lot. I kept thinking it was a Clay-colored Sparrow, but I wasn’t sure enough because it came up rare for the date and location. Now a few days later I am convinced it was a Clay-colored Sparrow. The clean gray nape and pale lores confirm it, but I felt originally just the gizz of the bird, as they say, was Clay-colored. And the body of the bird is uniformly buffy.
There were fewer Great Egrets this time.
I am not sure I realized I was photographing a Rusty Blackbird but this was definitely a nice surprise to find in my photos from Tuesday.
One more view of the slough. The trees are now fading and losing their leaves.
All the house cleaning I normally start on Saturday is done for the week and out of the way before tomorrow morning. We are singing for Choir Sunday, which means the Unity Temple Choir will be featured throughout the entire service. I’m looking forward to the repertoire, in particular the Ola Gjeilo pieces. The weather will be much improved after today. The sanctuary will be beautiful with sunlight pouring through the clerestory windows. A moment of calm to be had after the storm and, I suppose, before the next.