I saw 4 new birds today and I'm up to 120! Pretty good, eh? I thought so, I still have 4 months of birding and fall migration to go. But, my friend Lupe has 130! Dang, more birding is in order!
This was the easiest bird of the day; Lupe pointed out this Lazuli Bunting right behind the visitor's center. Later I saw a Black-Headed Grosbeak off the patio, and a Rufous Hummingbird at the feeder.
This Black Tern was on Pond 8. Pond 8 was a great pond today. It was quite low with mudflats and rocky islands, and was packed with shorebirds. I saw dowitchers, Wilson's Phalaropes, Least and Western Sandpipers, American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts, several Northern Shovelers, and a Willet was seen there, too. I also saw a Bullock's Oriole on Pond 1, and got a great look at a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. On Pond 9 I saw a Least Bittern, Snowy Egrets, and Black-Crowned Night-Herons. It was the most productive day birding I've had in a while.
Saturday, August 8, 2009
I saw a solitary Solitary Sandpiper today. (A little bird humor for you!) I also figured out that I have somehow managed to fill up an 8 MG card with pictures of birds and my kids! So no pictures today. But it was really nice at the Bird Preserve; it was surprisingly cool in the morning and there were mudflats on Pond 1. That's were I saw the little loner, and a lot of other birds, including Wilson's Phalaropes, Green Herons, a Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egrets, Western and Least Sandpipers, Killdeer and a handful of others.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Here's a bird for you ladies! These are Wilson's Phalaropes feeding. They spin like tops to create a vortex that stirs up their food. Not only are they fun to watch, they are very unusual because they have reversed sex roles. The females are larger and more brightly colored than the males and do the courting, and the males incubate the eggs and care for the chicks. Kind of an interesting bird. I saw these on August 1.
Sorry I have a bad case of brain fry. It's not heat stroke or heat exhaustion, it's just a general feeling of blah and a lack of energy and enthusiasm. I've been going to blog for weeks, but I haven't. But I do have several "new" birds to add to my list, so I'll get cracking.
On July 17, I saw this Common Nighthawk. It caught me by surprise; I usually see them very early in the morning, but I saw this one late in the afternoon as I was leaving. He was pretty cooperative and let me get a good look.
Then on July 18, I saw three birds that I was a little surprised that I hadn't seen earlier in the year: a Kestrel, Great Blue Heron, and a Cattle Egret.
On July 24, I saw a Eurasian Collared Dove, just outside the visitor's center. I tried to take a picture, but it did not cooperate and flew away when I opened the back door. Rude!
On July 25, I had a Great Horned Owl. I was was walking with a group and I was so surprised to see it fly out of a group of trees near the intersection between pond 4, 7 and 5 and over into the tamarisk on Pond 4, that I just stuttered for a minute before I got out "Owl!"
Also on July 25, I got great looks at this Long-billed Curlew. He was in Pond 8, but my approach startled him and he flew over the fence into the area behind the Bird Preserve. But he must have felt safe behind the fence, because he let me take several pictures of him.
Finally, on August 1, my friend Lupe and I observed an Osprey flying over the ponds.
Summer is always quieter at the Bird Preserve, but I am always amazed at the variety that can be found even when it is an oven outside. The staff is still recording about 60 to 70 different species every week, and I usually see 20-30 in a hour's birding. Here are few other birds that I have seen lately.