Two morning visits to Heather Farm March 5


It was worth it to make two visits this morning, though the first was before 6 AM.  I walked over with a scope to see the conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter.  Couldn't see them, very few stars and worried about whether I was too late, the sky a little too bright and the half-Moon above.  But when I walked out onto the north ball field through the dugout, bang, there they were just over the right shoulder of Mount Diablo.  I was actually too early!  The hot chocolate back home at 6:10 was a nice picker-upper.

Before 7:30, I went again for the birds and on my bike.  Fifteen Cedar Waxwings were in a tree before I even made it down our street to the Contra Costa Canal.  A Marsh Wren was singing like crazy in the reeds just north of the gap where the otter poop is often visible on the west side of the large, mostly natural pond.  This morning some very fresh poop was there and the sidewalk was wet where the otter had crossed to the currently dry Ygnacio Canal.

The Wood Duck pair was visible near the island from the wooden railing below the parking lot.  A Common Gallinule was also there, standing close to a Snowy Egret.  The Ring-necked Ducks are sticking around, but there are only a handful of Coots and maybe two female Buffleheads.

I did not go to the entrance of the private Seven Hills School today, but yesterday two or three Rough-winged Swallows were still flying over that pond. Twelve to fifteen Ring-necked Ducks are also hanging out there.

A couple of Red-winged Blackbirds are also staying, now, singing their cheery songs from the reeds or trees around the large pond.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek