Posts Tagged ‘Eurasian Collared Dove’

Birding Ballona Freshwater Marsh & Royal Palms Beach

This morning, early, I headed out to Ballona Freshwater Marsh, a birding “hotspot.” There I saw my first Common Yellowthroat, two Eurasian Collared Doves, several California Gnatcatchers (and I walked along the path with one female for a stretch). A delightful, highly vocal Song Sparrow who did me the favor of flying out, perching on the high branch of a bush, and singing her little heart out! I saw lots of ducks: cinnamon teals, gadwalls, mallards, greater scaups, green-winged teals, pied-billed grebes,  as well as American coots and a White Egret and a Snowy Egret. I see these commonly, and they stand out because they are so large and bright white, but I still love to see them, especially when they are standing still, reflected in still water.

Inspired by a movie, a book, and L.A. eBird (as well as the virtually empty freeways during the holiday!), I realized I could go birding in two places today, so I next drove over to Royal Palms Beach. There I was thrilled to see nine Black Oystercatchers keeping company with one American Oystercatcher. I also saw four or five Whimbrels (including one who looked back at me!) and a Spotted Sandpiper on the rocks, doing her characteristic bobbing about. Really wonderful to see! In addition, there were many willets, terns, and gulls as well as yellow-romped warblers and white-crowed sparrows. One of the yellow-rumps flew down to the rocks right by the ocean and was sprayed by the waves!

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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.