Archive for the ‘Birdwatching’ Category

Canadian Geese and an American Wigeon by Gateway Seminary in Ontario

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On Friday, I visited Gateway Seminary in Ontario. I began my tour near the large pond, which has three bright fountains of water springing up from it. I happened to see two Canadian Geese with their three goslings and a lone duck among them. The duck looked like an American Wigeon (male) to me, with his “baldpate” white strip on the head and dark eye-mask, but the mask was black, not the usual green, and I wondered if the duck were a hybrid. After a little research, I learned that every so often, American Wigeons occasionally have black eye-masks instead of green ones. I learn something new everyday!

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Two Mockingbirds and a Merlin (female) at Amber Ridge in the Morning

This morning, I was walking around Amber Ridge when I heard raucous bird calls. As I drew closer to the source of the sound, I saw that it was being made by two mockingbirds. They were squawking and flying up in the air and then back into their tall, green tree. I drew close to the tree, to find out what was irritating them, and saw a placid Merlin (female) perched on a high branch whom they were trying to scare off. The Merlin’s banded tail and distinct, brown chest streaking, facial patterning, and size (11-12″ apx) and wingspan (shorter than a larger hawk) made the ID.

June seems late for a nesting pair of mockingbirds, and the Merlin (Merlin columbarius) is supposedly here in SoCal mainly between mid-October and March. Yet here was this drama unfolding at the top of the tree:  plain as day. Although the mockingbirds were not initially successful, my interest in the Merlin, demonstrated by a curious stare as I drew closer, prompted the small raptor to take flight … and the two mockingbirds chased it across the sky!

 

loud, shrill mockingbirds

defending a tall, green tree

the Merlin takes flight!

jb

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Male and Female Merlin

p.s. The drama was re-enacted again this morning, Sunday, 7/16/2019. This time, when the mockingbirds chased off the Merlin, she let out an almost four-second long series of 10-12 sharp chips as she flew. Her banded tail spread was spread out in flight and clearly visible. A striking combination of sight and sound! So the ID of the Merlin was confirmed again today.

Birds of Safari West

Today I visited Safari West in Santa Rosa, where I had the pleasure of seeing more than 30 different species of bird from Africa and around the world, including:

  • African Lesser Flamingo, African Spoonbill, American Flamingo, Black Swan, Blue-Crowned Pigeon, Cape Thick-Knee, Cattle Egret, Demoiselle Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Fischer’s Lovebird, Greater African Flamingo, Green Turaco, Hamerkop, Helmeted Guinea Fowl, Laughing Kookaburra, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Purple Swamphen, Ostrich, Rainbow Lorikeet, Red Junglefowl (rooster!), Sacred Ibis, Scarlet Ibis, Silvery-Cheeked Hornbill, Spur-winged Lapwing, Taveta Golden Weaver, Trumpeter Hornbill, Waldrapp Ibis, White-Bellied Stork (also called Abdim’s Stork), White-Faced Whistling Duck, White Stork, & Wood Duck

 

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Flamingoes

 

Scarlet Ibis

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Hammerkop & Sacred Ibis

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Waldrapp Ibis & White-Bellied Crane

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Damoiselle Crane

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Jane Beal,
bird-photographer

 

 

Barn Swallows & Northern Rough Winged Swallows at the L.A. Waterfront

Yesterday afternoon, I was walking along the L.A. Waterfront from the Maritime Museum parking lot to the Cirque du Soleil big-top, blue-and-yellow tent to see “Amaluna.” As I was walking by the water, through a line of trees on either side of the sidewalk, the barn swallows were swooping all around me like angels! They made me laugh with delight. I love their brilliant blue-and-orange colors … On the way back, after the show, the same thing happened again — only this time, the birds were northern rough winged swallows! They were very glad-hearted in flight, swooping together and apart in elongated oval and figure eight dances in mid-air, at top speed. Seeing them filled my heart with joy!

barn swallows swooping!

northern rough wing’ swallows dancing –

angels in mid-air

jb

Birds Seen in Snow Creek Park, Walnut, CA Today

American Robin

Barn Swallow

Belted Kingfisher

Black Phoebe
(parent/fledgling pair)

Bushtit

European Starling

House Sparrow (male)

Lazuli Bunting
(female)

Mallard Duck

Mourning Dove

Oak Titmouse

Western Blue Bird
(male)

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Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

Phainopepla

Today I saw a male Phainopepla, dashing through the air from one tree to the next across Harvard Avenue in Claremont. The white wing patches, which are only visible in flight, made it easy to identify. So striking!

Photo credit: John Swartz

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