Archive for the ‘Bird Habitats’ Category

House Sparrow

HouseSparrow

 

Advertisements

Birding with Binoculars in Bonelli

In eight years of birding, I’ve only used binoculars three times — once when spotting eagles downstate in Illinois, once when spotting ospreys on Mare Island, and once when visiting Bonelli Regional Park with a friend who had a spare pair. This reflects a personal preference: I’ve wanted to see birds with my naked eyes, and I’ve wanted to get quietly closer to the birds without startling them, and I’ve wanted them to let me. It has worked out for the most part, and I have identified many birds in the wild.

But I recently purchased a pair of binoculars, and today, I went birding with them in Bonelli Regional Park. Let me just say:  I once was blind, but now I see! Today I saw birds from far away as if they were very near.

Some new IDs for me? Lark Sparrow, Pine Siskin, and Northern Shoveler. In addition, some rarer sightings: Gadwell, Bufflehead (male), and a group of Western Meadowlarks. It was delightful to watch the Lark Sparrow rustling, hopping, and scratching in some underbrush. (Earlier on my walk I had seen a California Towhee acting similarly.) Like the sparrow, the Bufflehead was looking for food, but under the water. He looked so happy diving down and coming up again! But he was alone out there. I didn’t see any other buffleheads.

The long beaks of the Northern Shovelers were easy to see. But the Gadwell stood out when viewed through the binoculars. What finely detailed and gorgeous coloring the Gadwall has! The Pine Siskin was in a pine tree — of course. The Eurasian Collared Dove was also in a pine, tho’ a different one. The Western Meadowlarks in a group were a delightful surprise. I am used to seeing only one at a time, not six or seven.

All the usual suspects also were gathered round Puddingstone Reservoir:  American Coots, Belted Kingfishers, Black Phoebes, California Towhees, Canadian geese, Double-Crested Cormorants, Greater White-Fronted Ducks, House Finches, Killdeer, Mallard Ducks, Muskovy Ducks, Great White Egrets, Ring-billed Gulls, Sanderlings, Snowy Egrets, and Western Grebes. What a phenomenal day! Blissful for me, really.

Thank you, Creator-God.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, Mew Gull!

MewGull-Ganeshbirdsforlife

This morning, I went out to hike Bonelli Regional Park, and I noticed a new bird by the water: the Mew Gull! I spotted six or seven at least during my time walking around Puddingstone Reservoir. The large black eye, blacked-tipped wings, dual-colored bill (black and yellow), and light-colored legs made the ID. A beautiful bird to see on Thanksgiving Day! I loved watching it circle in flight and zoom through the American coots to compete for bread a little boy was tossing out to the birds from the bank.

I also saw the red-tailed hawk, black phoebe, Canadian geese, greater white-fronted geese, mallards, a Great Blue heron, Great White Egrets, Snowy Egrets, Cattle Egrets, several lesser goldfinches, a juvenile gull — very gray!

I saw yellow-rumped warblers darting between tree branches. I usually only see them in NorCal when it is cold, around January … but it is not cold here, today. It’s 90 degrees!

Audubon’s Birds: Selections from Vol. 1 of BIRDS OF AMERICA

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

American White Pelicans

AmericanWhitePelicans

Photograph by Jane Beal

PSALM 33
Two Pelicans at Twilight

Strange angels have come down from the sky,

white and shining, with orange mouths, open –

they never leave one another’s side.

I see this picture of loyalty on the lake

as the Sun goes down.

jb

Psalms for the God of Birds
(in progress)

_______________

Bonelli Regional Park
La Verne, CA

Swallow-Tailed Kite

Tonight I had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Brian McClaren speak at the University of La Verne about spiritual migration. He began his lecture with reference to the swallow-tailed kite, which migrates between South America and Florida, where the speaker lives:

Swallow-tailed_Kite_s52-12-235_l

To me, the most meaningful part of the presentation came during the Q & A, when Dr. McClaren spoke about “the dilemma of multiple belonging” in the context of an individual belonging to a faith tradition that defines an “us” vs “them” … and of how that expression of the faith tradition forms a restricted circle … but the individual believer may walk to the edge of that circle and come into contact with those who believe another way … and together with those in the other circle, form a new circle that overlaps both circles — so that we may begin to talk with one another about the way of love as a way of life.

Dr. Brian McClaren

Yellow-Headed Parrot

YelloHeadedParrotwToday, I saw the yellow-headed parrots very clearly and distinctly flying in the Saturday morning sunlight and settling in the trees near my place in La Verne.