Archive for the ‘Birdwatching’ Category


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


Orange-Crowned Warbler

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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!

My Christmas Book: Noah Strycker’s _Birding Without Borders_