Sunday, April 27, 2008
On Saturday, we did one of the dumbest things one could possibly do during a heat wave: we spent the day birding San Joaquin Marsh. And it ended up being so rewarding that we went back again on Sunday.
Our original plan was to bird Bolsa Chica, which we hadn't visited in a while. But when we got there, both parking lots were full and from PCH, the trails looked crowded. So it was time for Plan B, and for no particular reason, we headed to San Joaquin Marsh.
At San Joaquin, the avian hormone level was off the charts. The Tree Swallow nest boxes were all full, several pairs of American Avocets were mating in the front ponds, and the Marsh Wrens, usually (and frustratingly) invisible despite their loud singing, were now perched high on the tops of the reeds, singing up a storm.
Other interesting voluble singers were a Yellow-breasted Chat and a very bright Yellow Warbler, who was working the trees by the Audubon House parking lot and the construction site behind it. We also saw a Sora in the reeds on the edge of Pond D, and some mother and baby American Coots, also in Pond D.
Glenn was particularly interested in getting photos of the elusive Marsh Wrens, but wasn't happy with the harsh late morning/early afternoon lighting we had. So we went back on Sunday morning, bright and early. to take advantage of the pleasant light and relative cool.
And it was even better than before. We saw the same cast of characters with a few new additions: a group of White-faced Ibises, some really bright Western Tanagers, and about four still-bright Wilson's Phalaropes in Pond C.
Plan B turned out to be a winner. Thank goodness Plan A didn't work out!