The Arcata Bottoms really are a haven for raptors (and shorebirds, and geese, and ducks, and so on...). In a previous post, I noted that the many fence posts around these pastures seem to make excellent perches for the wide variety of raptors that hunt here. After new visits to the Arcata Bottoms last weekend and again this morning, I have some more fence post sentries to add to the list, starting with this little American Kestrel (with lounging cows for a backdrop):
American Kestrels are our smallest raptors, but Merlins aren't much bigger, and these fence posts seem to be just the right size for those little hunters as well:
Aren't Turkey Vultures too big for these wooden posts? I guess not:
One Turkey Vulture on a roadside post let me inch up next to it in my car, at least up to a point; I'm pretty sure this is the closest I've been to a Turkey Vulture in the wild, and it took off (to land on a post further away) just after I took this picture:
Wow, what beautiful massive wings, and what a bizarre skull-like head. Turkey vultures are so cool.
While I'm already sharing sights from the Bottoms, how about some water birds? Three male Buffleheads paddled around together (while a group of several female Buffleheads hung out a little ways away):
And a big flock of American Coots demonstrated how cool their black-white-gray outfits look en masse:
We've had rainy and gray weather for what seems like forever at this point, but even when rain threatens at least I can drive through the Bottoms and still get to see new and interesting things!