Water is essential for birds and other wildlife. Monterey County, California, especially in the current drought, is no exception. I recently visited a ranch in the rolling (and very dry) hills of Monterey County where a friend, Bruce Finocchio, has created a small oasis for local wildlife and a wonderful location for wildlife photography.
A small pool as water source, live oak and other shrubs as cover, and a few bird feeders attract a wide variety of visitors. Add a few blinds for photography and you have an ideal place to spend a couple of days observing and photographing on beautiful fall days.
This modest little creation of water, food, and cover provides a smorgasbord for both wildlife and photographers. Activity around the pool –- foraging, perching, bathing, drinking -- was almost constant during my visit. Sparrows, towhees, finches, quail, jays, thrashers, chipmunks and cottontails… if you build it they will come.
A Western Scrub Jay enjoys a bath.
Merriam's Chipmunk gets a drink.
Spotted Towhee pauses for a drink and is reflected in the pool.
Desert Cottontail remains wary while drinking.
California Thrasher enjoys a dip in the pool.