Saturday, October 6, 2007

Weekend birding (so far...)

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon birding at Irvine Regional Park. I've discovered a great spot for finding birds - a fountain near Group Area #2. It is apparently part of tourist-trap railroad there. Anyways, the birds love it. Yesterday I spent about an hour sitting quietly nearby, and I was treated to close views of a parade of songbirds coming to drink and bathe. At first, things were quiet - then a few Yellow-rumped Warblers showed up, followed by a couple Orange-crowned Warblers and a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Pacific-slope Flycatchers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Lesser Goldfinches, California Towhees, and a Bewick's Wren were some of the other birds that visited the fountain. Here's a shot of fountain - I know, it looks horrendously dirty - it probably rarely gets cleaned.

Here's a shot of the Black-throated Gray Warbler than came in for a bath. I wish the fence hadn't been in the way, but there was nothing I could do about it...

Other birds of interest at IRP included my first lowland Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) of the year, a Willow Flycatcher, and the continuing Barn Owl.

This morning my dad and I birded Huntington Central Park for a few hours, hoping to find some of the good birds reported there recently. The best bird I saw was an Olive-sided Flycatcher, but I also found some Lincoln's Sparrows, lots of Townsend's Warblers, and a Hermit Thrush. I also heard a call note that sounded suspiciously like a Black-throated Blue Warbler in "The Island" area, but I could not place my eyes on the bird, despite chasing it through a very nasty swampy area and taking multiple spider webs in the face. Oh well... I really wish I had seen it though - if I had heard it in Michigan I would have called it a Black-throated Blue Warbler without batting an eyelash!

We also briefly birded at Bolsa Chica, first stopping at the back part visible from Harriet Wieder Park. The main lagoon was flooded and filled with dabbling ducks - American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, etc. I then noticed a huge flock of shorebirds in the far corner of the lagoon. A short walk brought us within a reasonable distance of the birds. One of the first birds I laid on was this gorgeous juvenile Pacific Golden-Plover (with Black-bellied Plovers for a nice comparison).

Other shorebirds in the flock included Red Knot, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, and Western Sandpiper. It was really amazing how densely packed the Western Sandpipers were - they were practically standing shoulder to should. Here's a small part of the flock, showing Western Sandpipers and Black-bellied Plovers, as well as a few Red Knots and Dunlin.

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