Ample Water, More Wildlife

Yesterday I drove to the ranch to do some clean-up. With camera in hand, I stopped a few times to take photos. The day started with an encounter with turkeys just past the first gate.

The sun was high, but one photo stood out over the rest, despite the imperfect light.

DSC_0833 cropped hen and gobbler

Down the road a ways, a pair of mallards were doing their version of reproduction. With all the rain, one would think the local mallard crop will be good this year.

DSC_0835 mallard pair

At a pond near the second gate, bullfrogs were warming in the sun at the water’s edge.

DSC_0853 bull frog cropped

Enemies of many native species, including native frog species, bullfrogs dominate any pond they inhabit. Fortunately we don’t have bullfrogs on our ranch.

DSC_0859 plain titmouse cropped

As I walked turned to step into my truck, I was distracted by a tree swallow landing in an oak tree nearly overhead. After several attempts to photograph the tree swallow, I realized that I was getting nowhere. Then this plain titmouse appeared and posed for a photo. Seems like there’s a titmouse pair for each oak tree.

Wildflowers were looking good. With the cooler-than-average weather, the annual grasses have not dominated and the broad-leaf plants will win the battle for sunlight this year. They’ve off to a good start.

DSC_0898 guarding the waters edge coped

On the way home, I couldn’t resist another bullfrog photo. These guys are the guardians of the water’s edge. Their legs also fry up nicely.

DSC_0902 three deer cropped

Looks like two young bucks and a doe peeking at me from below the road.

Red-tailed hawks were on the prowl. Some in the air and others hunting the easy way.

DSC_0915 Canada goose cropped

Maybe it’s the extra water that has more than normal numbers of Canada geese hanging around the local ponds.

After leaving the gravel road, I passed through some local vineyards to see what might be available. Found a lone pair of hens, avoiding the crowd and then a big crowd of gobblers strutting aggressively.

It was a great day to be out and about.

It’s Strutting Time

Turkeys in bunches. The breeding season is in full swing. This is the time that often frustrates turkey hunters. You can hunt all day without finding a callable bird.

The turkeys I found today were in two groups. Got a few decent photos. Should have got more, but things kept going wrong.

To get really good turkey pictures everything has to go right. These are the best of the day. The best shots came in the late afternoon when the sun was lower in the sky.

In a couple weeks, the gobblers will be easier to call in. Maybe I’ll get out the camo and box call. Haven’t shot a turkey in a few years.

 

The Red-Shouldered Hawk

Red-shouldered hawks seem to have increased their range over my lifetime. This is an observation and may or may not be true. They are most often seen in riparian areas. They are very vocal and their call is loud.

They are a member of the Buteo family of raptors and their wings appear a bit stubby, apparently to help them fly through trees and brush while pursuing their prey.

Here are a couple of my best red-shouldered hawk photos. These pictures are of the same hawk, that flew to a pond where I was standing with camera in hand.

 

Tri-Colored Black Bird

The tri-colored blackbird is a species that is in decline. Lack of habitat is the basis for most declines. I’ve heard that there are ongoing efforts to reverse the trend, but I don’t know if they are effective.

Here’s a link: https://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/tricolored-blackbird

On a few occasions I’ve had a chance to photograph them. Here are two photos of tri-colored and another photo of a red-winged blackbird. They are very similar in appearance.

Here is a red-winged black bird.

blackbird 6 CCSF pond 6-7-12

Conversation in the Vineyards – Schedule of Events, Flyer and Support Letter

Here is the schedule of events for the upcoming Mule Deer Foundation – National Endowment Fund Event, May 2-5, 2019 in Livermore, California.

Venues and Tour ScheduleWES High RES_jpg_contact info

Here is a flyer and donation form. Endowment[1] flyer vertical

And lastly, here is my testimonial of support.

Today and Tomorrow_FV_by Rich Fletcher (2)

If you have questions, give me a call at (925)989-4372.

Rich

Open Zone 2019

While I was hunting deer in 2018, I spent quite a bit of time wondering what I could be doing differently.

The more I hunted, the more I realized how many places I had yet to go and I began to think about purchasing the OZ tag again.

Yep, I did it.

Now I’m really fired up.