Tuesday in Heather Farm--Walnut Creek


Today I waited until the bike race in France ended before riding my own 62-1/2 year old bike to the park.  It was breezy today, but two good birds made it worth while. 

Across from the wooden railing and in front of the big oak with the green bench under it, a couple asked me what was this weird bird?  It was an alternate plumage American Avocet walking in the shallows between the Mallards.  Even closer to the edge was a Least Sandpiper with its yellow legs.  Neither one is a first for the location, but certainly unusual.

The big pond is full of Mallards, between 70 and 80 of them.  They seem to come here in the summer during their eclipse plumage time.  Some of us have been thinking this is a fairly safe place for them during this period when they cannot fly as well.  There were not this many Mallards during the winter or spring breeding season.

The pond is shallower and shallower as the summer passes.  Last Thursday the crew with the pond-skimming machine arrived to clean all the growth and algae from the water.  They worked that day and Friday, but not yesterday or today.

Fred Safier had a five-heron day on Sunday, and yesterday I could not find a Snowy Egret, so settled for a four-heron day.  Today the Snowy Egret was present and only one Black-crowned Night-Heron, the latter in some trees near the private Seven Hills School.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek