This morning I spent several hours birding the neighborhood. The Mountain Chickadee was still behind the stables, with the Bushtits that always seem to be there. I then bushwhacked my way along the Yellowthroat Creek. I was pleasantly surprised to find fair numbers of warblers there - lots of Orange-crowned and Wilson's, but also singles of Nashville (new 'hood bird) and Yellow. There was also one Warbling Vireo (new 'hood bird). However, the biggest prize was yet to come. I tracked down a smacking chimp call note to a MacGillivray's Warbler poking around in a dense thicket! A lifer! I followed it around for several minutes, finally getting decent looks as it popped out into the open a couple times. I continued onward around both of the lakes. The trusty Wood Duck was nowhere to be seen, and the Spotted Sandpiper that has been hanging around for the past few days was gone. I took a spin around the Roller Coaster trail next, lucking into California Thrashers, Spotted Towhees and Bewick's Wrens, but I couldn't find the resident California Gnatcatchers. I found another MacGillivray's Warbler (man, I almost got tired of seeing them...) - I'm sure it was a different bird, since it was a good distance away from the first bird and had a slightly duller brown hood. A couple Killdeer flew overhead (new 'hood bird; the local mockingbirds have tricked me many times, but these were genuine), and I found some more Wilson's and Orange-crowned Warblers in a large eucalyptus grove, as well as my first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the fall. The five new new birds for the neighborhood put my 'hood list up to seventy-four!
Here's a shot of a Black Phoebe that was up at one of the lakes yesterday. They're really common, but still fascinating birds. They wake me up every morning, except when I get up in the middle of the night to go birding. :-)
This Great Blue Heron is a regular at the lakes. Another very common bird, but seeing that golden eye is always cool.
Lastly, here's a shot of the Spotted Sandpiper that I mentioned earlier. Yesterday I noticed him running around on a small patch of dirt and gravel next to the lower lake, actively hunting flies! When it spotted a fly, it would crouch down, holding completely still like a pointer dog. Then - SNAP - the fly would be gone! Amazing to watch. Look carefully at this photo - you can see the fly!