Posts Tagged ‘California Towhee’

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.


Summer Birding

We have a mourning dove nesting in the woodpile at the side of the house. Early today, I saw her two little chicks! They’ve been born from the shell. It’s wonderful … because today is my mother’s birthday!

The garden is really flourishing. A California Towhee’s fledgling has nested, grown and flown from a tall bush we have back there, and a mockingbird is building a new nest in the wisteria that grows over the trellis. (I can’t help but feel this is all the special blessing of God.)

And there are still more birds nearby.

Around 7 AM, I went out for a walk through the field, and I really saw a lot of birds. I had a full conversation with a California Towhee, the sounds and songs of which apparently irritated a nearby mockingbird. She flew out and spread her wings wide on the towhee to startle the chic singer away.

Along a row of bottle-brush bushes, with their red blooms, I saw more than half a dozen chittering hummingbirds, including a female rufous hummingbird, a female Costa’s hummingbird (I believe) and a male Anna’s hummingbird (looking remarkably like a ruby-throat hovering mid-air, wings fluttering a million miles a minute!).

Later, a blue jay swept over the broad expense of trees and bushes that cluster thickly over and through a watery place. I heard a crow complaining as I walked back along my path.

I also saw a Black Phoebe in flight and an American Goldfinch clinging to the top of a bush that was blowing about in the wind.

What a pretty morning!

California Towhee

California Towhee