Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 8, 2013

Sora – Hello, Goodbye

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light — richditch @ 4:21 pm


Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E III (2x), tripod, ISO 1600, 1/160th second at f/5.6

Just last week I posted about the “swamp” wet area at the Gilbert Water Ranch where I found a vagrant Rufous-backed Robin. That encounter was on Thursday, January 3, 2013. The birders who followed my report on Friday got to see the robin in the morning and in the afternoon, along with some other interesting birds. So I went back on Saturday to spend more time in the early hours and try for better photos of the robin. I hung around for a couple of hours with a few other people hoping for an appearance by the robin but it didn’t show, and it hasn’t been seen since as far as I know.

But I did have some fun with a pair of Sora rails that worked the swampy ground extracting worms while being completely indifferent to those of us watching from a few feet away on the pavement. This image is full frame – no cropping. Soras are only 8.75 inches long, so even with 600mm of focal length I was very close to this carefree bird.

My Saturday visit was plagued by lots of foot traffic from family groups, joggers, and even a long string of kids on racing bikes. So I went back again today (Tuesday 1/8/13) when I knew there’d be almost no traffic – especially since the temps were in the 40’s at dawn.

I was shocked to find the ground much drier under the trees along the paved path, and also was surprised to find a workman dragging large cut branches along the walkway. I asked what was going on and he told me they were cutting back a lot of the trees and brush at the robin location because they had to fix the “giant leak” at that spot.

GWR cut tree

GWR cut tree

So, goodbye swamp and goodbye birds.


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