Once again, the Annual New Year’s Day Walkabout was well attended with 34 people starting the New Year, enjoying nature. It was a perfect morning for the walk, – sunny, cool and clear. As usual, because of the large group, we split into two groups, with Stu and Louise Lewis leading one group and Dave Lancaster the other. It was, as it has been recently, quiet for small birds – we saw yellow-rumped and pine warblers, blue gray gnatchers, blue-headed vireo, cat birds, mockingbirds, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, cardinals. The snipe that has been at Ollie’s regularly, was hiding along a palm frond along the shore, camouflaged, so that he remained and everyone got a rare up-close look. Water birds were purple and common gallinules, a few coots finally showed up, two families of black-bellied whistling ducks, ring-necked, blue-winged teals, along with the usual great blues, herons, kingfisher, etc. Due to lack of rain, the water level at Ollie’s has gone down significantly. Even though this is good for some species, the water level is too low for this time of year. We need rain. However, the grasses and greenery have returned to good habitat levels for wading birds and ducks. As it goes lower, we’ll hope to have the sandpipers coming in to feed.
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