Birdie and I revisited the wildlife refuge called Whitewater Draw.Camping is allowed there for 3 days out of 7. Camping is free and we stayed 3 days.
There are several trails,Ponds,
Imagine the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that come here in the winter. We saw several on our first visit, but they have migrated northward now.
There are benches and overlooks with spotting scopes. So what did we see?
By one of the little ponds we came upon a family of Collared Peccaries (Javalinas)
They were playing in the muddy water.
We've been spotted; there they go.
That was my best ever Javalina encounter.
I got to study the many Vermillion Flycatchers too. This is the adult male in his brilliant red.An immature male,
The adult female,And an immature female.
Two sleeping Avocets.
He flew right past my campsite while I was sitting outside.
Stages of sunset
Avocet at sunset
Like a painting...
Many Sparrows...I don't know my sparrows.Six Ring-billed Gulls...unusual in this location.
Swallows...probably barn swallows.
Nine Black-crowned Night Herons flying over.
Black-crowned Night Heron
They all perched in a big tree.
Northern ShovelersSparrows getting a drink.
Great Blue Herons
Long-billed DowitchersProbably Green-winged Teals
Black-necked Stilt and a Dowitcher
Can anyone ID this Sparrow?
A pair of nesting Great-horned Owls under the shelter.
On the nest
Out hunting at night
Swainson's Hawk....first we saw one,Then one evening we noticed several on the ground. In this picture there are deer in the background, a Swainson's Hawk in the brown in front, one Sandhill Crane that came in, two Canada Geese.
Eventually we counted about 40 Swainson's Hawks that had set down to rest on their migration.
Hawks and deer.
They were a distance away.
Many white-tailed deer grazing out there too.
We went out in the morning to try to catch the hawks' liftoff.
But it was very windy and the hawks were spread out, so it wasn't dramatic.
One here on the irrigation pipe,
a few there,
Two on the bush,
And, uh-oh, two coyotes... the hawks all disappeared.
And so we had Sandpipers
Don't know what kind,
A Common Ground Dove,
One lonely Sandhill Crane that must have missed his flight.
Lots more Sandpipers
And there were others I never got a picture of. You can see why they call this an important bird area.