Wednesday, May 5, 2010
One of my favorite things to do during the summer is to ride the several miles over to the far eastern end of Irvine Regional Park at dusk and watch the Lesser Nighthawks swooping against the delicate pink and blue sky as the songbirds give their last chips and songs of the day. Seeing nighthawks during the day, however, is a much more difficult task.
Irvine Park has a lot more than nighthawks to offer--which is why I was there for several hours this morning. As I was crossing the wash, however, I flushed two large, long-winged birds from under the scrub. I was momentarily baffled until I saw the flashing white bars at the ends of their wings. Nighthawks! During the day! One of the birds disappeared up the wash on its bounding wingbeats, but the other settled about fifteen feet away. Seeing one on the ground during the day was a treat! I've never had such good looks at this species.
The nighthawks were a relief from an otherwise average morning. My all-too brief foray to Texas really spoiled migration back at home. California migration is really put to shame when compared with High Island. A Hermit Warbler, two Warbling Vireos, four Wilson's Warblers, and several Western Tanagers were the only migrants I could turn up in several hours of birding.
Of course, the resident species are always fun to see, too. Acorn Woodpeckers always make me laugh! A morning of birding beats a morning of school any day!