Along the slough were birds like the above heron, basking in sunshine.
Even this sapsucker took time off from sucking sap to soak in some rays...
As I was passing the entrance to the Kiwa Trail I spotted a small bird at the top of a tree up ahead. I thought to myself, it would be really cool if that was a Merlin. Unfortunately before I could approach I had to wait for a giant nutria to cross the road...
Once the hideous beast passed, and the dogs' excitement level dropped, I slowly approached the bird in question. And a Merlin it was!
Merlins also enjoy a good sun-soaking session, but with just a hint of stink eye of course...
My bonding moment with this bird was cut short by an incoming marching band horn section... Eight Trumpeter Swans were flying in and the sound was pretty incredible. Check out my video on Flickr and turn the volume up!
The Merlin took off amid the ruckus and I continued on down the road.
As I was exiting the ash forest I should have been paying more attention. Why? Because the female Vermilion Flycatcher I saw two years ago has returned and was seen yesterday. But I did not know that and did not look for it. Instead I was fawning over a distant Great Horned Owl, also enjoying the sunny day.
Perhaps the same one Michele spotted a couple weeks ago? Other good birds around included Tundra Swans and Sandhill Cranes, a dark morph Red-tailed Hawk, Bald Eagles, oodles of ducks, and all the other regulars.