Saturday, September 22, 2007
Rainy Day Misadventures
Rain? What's that?! We got heavy showers several times today, and I birded right through it. I rode my bike to Peters Canyon, giving myself and my bike a generous coating of mud. The trails were muddy, it was cool, breezy, and drizzling - lovely birding weather! The birds didn't seem to mind the rain, however. The lake had many of the same birds as on Wednesday, but the Pectoral Sandpiper didn't show up. I found a couple Wilson's Warblers and a single Townsend's Warbler along the Willow Trail, both overdue Peters Canyon firsts for me. As I walked around south of the dam, the weather got nastier. A Vaux's Swift (new Peters Canyon bird) and some swallows flew overhead. I resorted to crawling under some bushes to wait out the rain. By stripping off my shirt and wrapping up my camera, cell phone, and list pad, I was able to keep these objects safe and dry. When I finally got back to my bike in the parking lot, things had dried out and the sky was clear, so I biked up to Irvine Regional Park.
Irvine Regional Park is home to the abundant and noisy Acorn Woodpeckers. You can't help but enjoy their striking plumage and crazy antics. This bird above flew in to investigate my pishing, peering out from behind the branch...
Irvine Park was also loaded with warblers - they were everywhere! I didn't see any unusual ones, but I got crippling views of an adult male MacGillivray's Warbler, and there were lots (15+) of Black-throated Gray Warblers present. Probably the best bird there was an adult male Summer Tanager foraging up in the tops of the eucalyptus trees near parking lot thirteen. I also spotted this gorgeous Barn Owl tucked away in a hollow sycamore.
Here's a close-up digiscoped shot. After I got home, my dad was so jealous of my sighting that we went back so he could see it, and I brought my scope to digiscope it.
So, it was a fun morning, even if the weather was less than perfect. I got eighty-two species total for the day, and two state birds (Summer Tanager and Barn Owl). I'm tired, muddy, sweaty, and wet after biking and walked many miles through mud and rain. But happy. :-D