We love spending time here in Borrego Springs, but their grocery store leaves a little to be desired from our point of view. Occasionally we need to drive about 60 miles to Brawley to get everything on our list and on the way we've noticed clouds of white birds in the distance. Snow Geese, we figured, so today we packed lunch and went in search of a closer look.
We drove through huge agricultural fields of alfalfa hay, onions, cabbage, broccoli, beets, and lettuces of all kinds in Westmoreland.
|natural weed/pest control|
The road to the Refuge was being tarred and was closed in random places, necessitating our frequent detours down dirt farm roads.
We did have to drive a little way on the fresh tar, but a worker suggested we drive on the wrong side of the road because it was already almost dry.
Dave is wonderful. He always stops whenever I see a bird I want to look at. He backs up, turns around, drives on the shoulder of the road, even into fields when I ask. Who else would do that? Most of the time we're too far away to get a good picture of the bird, a showable picture, but I always try to at least get something to identify it by.
|a Belted Kingfisher shopping the ditch|
I saw a flock of Snow Geese in a field, so Dave pulled off and stopped where I could get the best shot.
I took several pictures to try and decide whether these were Snow or Ross Geese. Dave turned his binoculars on the flock, then started to laugh.
|a paper decoy - a field of paper decoys!|
We never did find out why the field was filled with fake geese, but we did have a good laugh!
Once we arrived at the Refuge we set off on the trail to see some real Snow Geese.
|coming in for a landing, gear down|
We didn't finish the entire trail (only a couple miles) because in my zeal to get closer to the birds I went off the path and through the rough. I stepped on a big thorn and it went through my shoe and into my foot so we decided we'd seen enough and turned back.
The big excitement of the afternoon, however, was still to come. As we sat in the Jeep eating lunch we couldn't believe what we were seeing right in front of us...
A little California Burrowing Owl standing in the opening of a drainage pipe!
As I've said before, we're a very exciting couple, fascinated by watching an owl watching us! We sat there for a very long time. We couldn't take our eyes off his crabby little face and his beautiful yellow eyes.
So, that's how we spent this beautiful California day.