Archive for the ‘Bird Habitats’ Category

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee

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Seen at Omi’s front-yard feeders:

Anna’s hummingbird (male & female)
Chestnut-Backed Chickadee
Dark-Eyed Juncos
House Finches (male & female)
Nuttall’s woodpecker



Red Whiskered Bulbuls at the Huntington Library and Gardens

Calliope Hummingbird


Calliope Hummingbirds breed in the willow thickets of coniferous woodlands in the San Gabriel Mountains between May and August, but at least one came down to the foothills near Amber Ridge this morning:  a female with a vividly spotted throat and a distinctive Calliope chitter — compared to Cornell’s Online Birding Lab recordings — sounds like no other SoCal hummer!

(Did you know that Calliope is the muse of eloquence and epic poetry?)

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!