One Single, Solitary Birthday Gift
What better gift than an encounter with a new bird?
Earlier this fall, I spent my birthday exploring the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge complex, which includes nearby Merced National Wildlife Refuge, a popular spot for birders and wildlife photographers nestled in a highly agricultural region of California's Great Central Valley. The protected wetland habitat hosts tens of thousands of overwintering Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans, geese of several species (most prominent are flurries of Snow Geese) and literally millions of ducks and shorebirds.
But on this particular day, one small bird stood out from the crowd: a single, Solitary Sandpiper, foraging quietly along the edge of the wetland.