Wednesday, November 21

Staten Island Sandhills

A morning trip north to Staten Island presented plenty of fowl life for my camera to capture. Unfortunately, just like the trip to Stone Lakes Preserve, my generic telephoto lens let me down again. But something is better than nothing, and it's always fun to see and hear these creatures in person, especially the Sandhill cranes.

Staten Island is out in the Delta, northwest of Lodi and just a few miles east of Walnut Grove. These are protected wilderness areas on private land, so you can't just wander willy-nilly. Have to stay on the dead-end road that runs its length. I heard a few shotgun blasts. Thousands of geese to choose from for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow! I think it was the guy who drove down a side road and flushed a huge herd of Sandhill cranes (you can barely see his truck in one of the shots).

I went out Woodbridge Road on the way back where there's a little drive-out loop and viewing area right off the road. Hardly any birds there, though. But on the way back, I pulled off the road to catch hundreds of cranes in someone's front yard. That's a lot of poop for your crop.

I only identified a few birds and didn't use my field glasses for that purpose. Snow geese, Whistling swans, Canvasback ducks, Least sandpipers, Coots, a single Whitetailed kite and some common perennials. Didn't stay long. Didn't take too many pictures. Didn't have a flat. Didn't go far - only 60 miles roundtrip.

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