Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'll admit it - I love ducks. The striking coloration on the males and the subtle patterns of the females make them lovely birds to look at. Their behavior - diving underwater and popping back up, or tipping bottom up for food in shallow water is enjoyable to watch as well. I've been seeing lots of ducks lately, much to my satisfaction. I photographed this Ruddy Duck on one of the neighborhood lakes on Sunday afternoon. I love the peaceful effect created by the snoozing bird and the calm waters.
On Tuesday we dropped by Bolsa Chica briefly to see what was around. There were loads of ducks here - Buffleheads, Surf Scoters, Lesser Scaups, and more. There was a large waterbird fishing right by the boardwalk as well - and it wasn't a duck.
A loon - a Common Loon! I was pretty surprised to see it there, and at such close range - it repeatedly would swim under the boardwalk. A county bird for me. We were also entertained by an acrobatic Brown Pelican diving mere feet away. Other interesting birds I noted during the brief visit were a couple Glaucous-winged Gulls, lots of Eared and Western Grebes, and a few "Belding's" Savannah Sparrows.
This morning my mom and I attended Sea & Sage Audubon's Upper Newport Bay boat trip. I had registered months in advance, since the trips are popular and the boat is small. We had a fun morning, going all the way up to near the old salt dike. We got distant looks at a single male Eurasian Wigeon (state/county bird for me) near Big Canyon. We also were treated to at least six Blue-winged Teal, another county bird for me. Eventually, we had to turn around and head back. On the way home, we quickly checked Big Canyon to see if I could get a shot of the Eurasian Wigeon. To my great surprise there wasn't one Eurasian Wigeon but three! All were in a large flock of American Wigeons. They were all fast asleep but one briefly awoke to preen, and I managed a few decent shots.
Posted by Neil Gilbert at 6:44 PM