Fink Family Farm Bird List

Fink Family Farm Bird List

The only list I faithfully keep is a list of all the birds seen on our farm since we moved here in 1977. I thought it would be fun to ad...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Baskett Slough revisited

Attending a horse workshop in Dallas last Saturday, I naturally came home via Baskett Slough NWR. To my amazement, a flock of Yellow-headed Blackbirds were gleaning gravel (or something in the gravel) on the road just before The Narrows. They flew up when I went by but quickly returned... and did so for every passing vehicle. In fact, when I came back an hour later, after a hike around the woods loop on Baskett Butte, the colorful birds were still in the road! My photos are not the best as I was shooting into the afternoon sun, but I've never before had an opportunity to photograph a whole mob of Yellow-headed Blackbirds (plus a few friends).

Parking at The Narrows I spotted a sleeping Cinnamon Teal. I love Cinnamon Teal, so I tried to get a photo... and noticed the Teal had company.

Greater Yellowlegs and Cinnamon Teal

The Yellowlegs apparently wandered too close to a blackbird nest as the disgruntled blackbird attacked the Yellowlegs... not just chasing it away but landing on its back and grabbing it by the neck. The Yellowlegs screamed pitifully, but, being considerably larger than its attacker, broke free and flew away. The blackbird disappeared back into the reeds, having successfully defended its nest (which the Yellowlegs didn't know existed, I'm sure.)

I drove on a bit farther and came upon a California Ground Squirrel having a dust bath in the middle of Coville Road. It looked to be having a wonderful, relaxing time.

This seemed to be the day for dust baths, as I came upon a Bewick's Wren having one on the loop trail up Baskett Butte. I took a few blurry photos,

then a couple videos...

and waited and waited for the wren to be done so I could continue on my way. Fifteen minutes of watching a wren squirm in the dirt, funny as it was, was enough. I was now late for picking up take-out Chinese food for Johnny's Father's Day eve supper, so I disturbed the happy wren and hurried by.

Although this is a Birds blog, I've already added a squirrel... why not a horse? The one with muscles painted on at the workshop at Old Mill Feed store is just too colorful to leave out of this day's photos. I'll bet this horse can't wait to roll in the dirt.


  1. I love your photos of yellow-headed blackbirds.I go by Baskett Slough NWR. I have never seen a yellow-headed blackbird there. I would love to take photos of some. I have 'tons' of bird photos but none of yellow-headed blackbirds.
    The other photos you posted are nice too, Thank you for posting them.

    1. Thanks, Don. I have only once before been able to photograph Yellow-headed Blackbirds at Baskett Slough (and never anywhere else). That was along the dike road between Coville Rd. and headquarters. Usually they come up for an instant and then back down into the reeds. I have never seen them on a roadway before. If you had been on Coville Rd. by The Narrows Saturday afternoon, you would have seen them. Maybe they'll gather there again.