Archive for the ‘Bird Habitats’ Category

Band-Tailed Pigeon

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Ruddy Ducks!

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This Saturday morning, I was in the right place at the right time: I biked into Bonelli and found the flock of Ruddy Ducks right away! Very satisfying to see the males with their blue-gray beaks, white cheek patches, ruddy bodies and upturned tails. I counted thirteen. The American Coots were around in abundance; a Great White Egret flew across the water to the reeds, oddly contrasting with one small coot once it landed and was stalking its prey. I counted three Black-Capped Night Herons. Two white mallards were following a green-headed male … There were two pied-bill grebes on the water then and a Clark’s Grebe; the Canadian Geese flew in while I was observing. A Black Phoebe swooped about it a circle while song birds choired up in the eucalyptus trees. I biked on … I saw four Muscovy ducks, and three picked on one until that one flew off. The hissing was vicious.

I paused for the Pims (bushtits); they are just so sweet! There was a rabbit nearby. At the top of the hill, I heard a hummingbird, and I drew near the tree where I heard it. An Anna’s Hummingbird decided to flash his bright gorget in my line of sight before darting off.

I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk wing her way above my path and land near the top of a pine tree. She looked back at me and met my eyes. The light was grayish this morning, and her tail looked almost yellow after she landed, tho’ in flight it caught the light and was red.

I went down the hill to find a table and eat second breakfast. There I saw two killdeer, a male grackle, the greater white-fronted geese / graylag geese, northern shovelers, the belted kingfisher, coots, mallards, lots of gulls, including a Ring-billed Gull … The Tricolored Blackbirds swooped down to join everyone.

By one of the piers, I saw a ruddy-headed duck with a white breast (hybrid?) cleaning its feathers … O, and the white-crested duck was still out there! I greeted two mini-dachsies and their owner, so saw my sweet California towhee …

Biking back, on the road to Bracket Airfield, I saw white-crowned sparrows, a lesser goldfinch, a cedar waxwing, and a bluebird. Nice!

p.s. Did I mention the Peregrin falcon I saw on the way in …? Short-tailed … perched on a pole and watching.

I looked for the barn owl nesting the palm tree, but didn’t find it yet …

Northern Rough-Winged Swallow

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Seen today at the top of a tree on Amber Ridge: a Northern Rough-Winged Swallow! Also noticed House Finches, White-Crowned Sparrows (with their immature young, differently colored than the adults, lighter), Allen’s Hummingbirds, Bushtits (I think of them as “Pims,” after their Latin name, psaltriparus minimus or PMs or Pims!), Mourning Doves, American Crows, Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, Yellow-Rumped Warblers (tho’ there are fewer of these than there have been). Day before yesterday, I saw the Oak Titmouse again!

My Day was MADE

I had a weird and wonderful birding day! I stopped by one of the piers in Bonelli today, got off my bike, and focused my binoculars … because I saw a Swainson’s hawk (light morph) on the ground killing and eating a male Mallard. A male Great-Tailed Grackle was in a nearby tree, crying out! On the water below were other Mallards, including a blonde Mallard (rare!), and a White-Crested Duck, which I had never seen before and had no idea showed up in the wild in LA! Four or five Dark-Eyed Juncos, males and females, flew down to the waterside, and my day was made. Did I mention that I saw an immature Snow Goose, too? #wow!!!

 

p.s. Before those killer minutes, I saw many Snowy Egrets, Great White Egrets, Great Blue Egrets, the Black-Capped Night Heron … a lot of American Coots, Clark’s Grebes … the sweetest California Towhee!

Birding Hansen’s Dam

I was lured to Hansen’s Dam by the possibility of White-Faced Ibises, which I did not see. But I did see (and hear!) many other birds:

  • an American crow in a pine, a busy Nuttall’s woodpecker, white-crowned sparrows and house finches flittering about, singing …
  • American coots, Mallard ducks, and American widgeons intermixed with Eurasian widgeons on the lake …
  • a “dark morph” Swainson’s hawk perched high up and surveying the lay of the land …
  • a hummingbird, a common yellowthroat, an American goldfinch, lesser goldfinches, American pipits, California gnatcatchers, a Bewick’s wren, a wrentit, a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet …
  • a Great White Egret that started to stalk across my path, then took flight once she saw me …
  • a turkey vulture circling with ravens …
  • California towhees …
  • a Great Blue Heron, standing still …
  • a black Phoebe, swooping in a circle to snatch insects from mid-air …
  • and then, sitting down on the bank, I watched two double-crested cormorants on the tree branches of the island in the middle of the lake beside a American White Pelican … a Snowy Egret in flight … a male Mallard Duck in flight …
  • and the Black-Capped Night Heron, hunting along the edge of the water!

Birding Ballona Freshwater Marsh & Royal Palms Beach

This morning, early, I headed out to Ballona Freshwater Marsh, a birding “hotspot.” There I saw my first Common Yellowthroat, two Eurasian Collared Doves, several California Gnatcatchers (and I walked along the path with one female for a stretch). A delightful, highly vocal Song Sparrow who did me the favor of flying out, perching on the high branch of a bush, and singing her little heart out! I saw lots of ducks: cinnamon teals, gadwalls, mallards, greater scaups, green-winged teals, pied-billed grebes,  as well as American coots and a White Egret and a Snowy Egret. I see these commonly, and they stand out because they are so large and bright white, but I still love to see them, especially when they are standing still, reflected in still water.

Inspired by a movie, a book, and L.A. eBird (as well as the virtually empty freeways during the holiday!), I realized I could go birding in two places today, so I next drove over to Royal Palms Beach. There I was thrilled to see nine Black Oystercatchers keeping company with one American Oystercatcher. I also saw four or five Whimbrels (including one who looked back at me!) and a Spotted Sandpiper on the rocks, doing her characteristic bobbing about. Really wonderful to see! In addition, there were many willets, terns, and gulls as well as yellow-romped warblers and white-crowed sparrows. One of the yellow-rumps flew down to the rocks right by the ocean and was sprayed by the waves!

Bewick’s Wren!

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Seen today at Descanso Gardens:  Hutton’s Vireo by the entrance fountain, a Doe on the path, Dark-Eyed Juncos by an orange leaf and a stone, Mallard Ducks on the lake shore, California Towhees, a Northern Mockingbird, and a hummingbird by the cacti …

in the oak wood, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Spotted Towees, and a Stag whose antlers were illuminated by the morning sunlight as he lay down in the ivy …

in the rose garden, Bewick’s wren and a Yellow-Rumped Warbler!