Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Some fun facts and info on hummingbirds

To learn more about these beautiful birds and how to attract them to your home, click on the following link:


Monday, February 27, 2012

An amazing video...

We came across a video we thought you might enjoy--like them or not, this is an impressive display of nature at its finest. Take a look!

A mystery of nature:

No one knows why they do it. Yet each fall, thousands of starlings dance in the twilight above England and Scotland. The birds gather in shape-shifting flocks called murmurations, having migrated in the millions from Russia and Scandinavia to escape winter’s frigid bite.
Scientists aren’t sure how they do it, either. The starlings' murmurations are manifestations of swarm intelligence, which in
different contexts is practised by schools of fish, swarms of bees and colonies of ants. As far as I am aware, even complex algorithmic models haven’t yet explained the starlings’ aerobatics, which rely on the tiny birds' quicksilver reaction time of under 100 milliseconds to avoid aerial collisions—and predators—in the giant flock.

Two young ladies were out for a late afternoon canoe ride and fortunately one of them remembered to bring her video camera. What they saw was a wonderful murmuration display, caught in the short video whose URL is below. Watch the variation of colour and intensity of the patterns that the birds make in close proximity to one other.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Birder's Thoughts on the New Improvements to the Refuge

We always enjoy hearing about your visits to the Stillwater Refuge. 

We think the following thoughts recently shared with us from an avid birder concerning changes to the area may be of particular interest to you for your next visit:

Hi birders....A quick note to indicate that I decided to do a tour of Stillwater NWR today, having heard and seen reports that its water supply was up this year. Indeed it is.....but equally impressive are the improvements made by Mike Goddard and his staff over the past several years to make the place more user (birder/casual viewer) friendly.

The big improvements occur at the south end of the complex, where one enters the refuge and encounters the "Auto Tour" entrance. The old maintenance shops have been removed, a nice big parking lot with kiosk/maps/info is there, along with an impressive viewing stand looking south into the marshes. Toilet facilities are also present.

The "Auto Tour" road proceeds north and makes a loop around Upper Foxtail Lake which gets the viewer fairly close to water at the upper end of the tour road. It is the quickest and easiest access to water at Stillwater, and many of the usual and expected birds can be seen along that short trip. There is also a new walking trail (Tule) off Hunter Road, just north of the intersection where Hunter Road turns north from the refuge entrance road.

For the more hardy among us, there is lots more water...widely distributed...further north along Hunter Road/Navy Cabin Road/Center Road. North Road has little to offer, has a soft roadbed in places and probably takes more time than it's worth to traverse. The water in the north end of the Stillwater complex is a bit harder to access, for the most part, requires a scope and a bit of hiking to get the most of it.

Road conditions are good, vegetation is as green and lush as I've seen it in many years, and there are birds to be seen as well. While I spent most of my time driving/viewing conditions from the car, what birding I did was productive of the usual and expected species. Travelers are reminded that to do a "complete" tour of the refuge requires considerable time, and adequate fuel. (I drove 220 miles round trip/ door to door/ from Reno.)

Again, my congratulations to Mike Goddard and his staff at Stillwater for doing a really nice job making Stillwater a much more desirable location to visit/bird than perhaps was the case in the past.

Friday, November 26, 2010

American Avocets

From birds

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Stillwater Refuge Overlook

From overlook

Yellow-headed Blackbird

From birds