Saturday, June 27, 2009
I haven't posted much lately because I haven't seen that much: by any objective measure, my birding over the past few weeks has been disappointing. Nothing makes me feel like more of a lame-o than submitting sighting lists to eBird that barely hit the double digits.
Yet I thoroughly enjoyed the few outings I had over the past few weeks. We may not have seen that many birds, but just about every one had a story.
While in Los Angeles, Glenn and I met up with one of Glenn's photographer friends at the Los Angeles County Arboretum. It's not a hugely birdy place, but it has a lot of very tame exotics, which make for great photos: peafowl preen only inches away from squealing toddlers, and colorful Red-whiskered Bulbuls perch conveniently on the tops of tiny manicured trees:
Even the wild birds there are extraordinarily tame. This Black-crowned Night-Heron was only a couple of feet away from me when I got this shot:
Glenn's friend, who has a membership to the Arboretum and visits it frequently, told us this Night Heron has devised a clever feeding technique: it waits for the local juvenile Homo sapiens to throw bread into the pond for the Mallards and Wood Ducks, perches on the shore near the floating bread, and waits for carp to come to the surface to take the bait...
A short trip to Bolsa Chica likewise yielded only the usual suspects. Happily, the usual suspects in the summer include lots of babies: fuzzy little Snowy Plovers, even tinier and cuter than their parents, skittered about like wind-up toys, and fledgling Least Terns squealed noisily for parental handouts. Just off the Wintersburg Channel, a pair of baby Black-necked Stilts were exploring their new digs:
Glenn decided to sleep in this morning, so I took a long walk through Canyon Park, through the south end of Talbert Nature Reserve, and down the Santa Ana River bike trail. I was hoping to get a glimpse of the ever-elusive Lazuli Bunting, but wasn't entirely surprised when it refused to materialize. Instead I heard several Yellow-breasted Chats and Blue Grosbeaks, and saw several Bullock's Orioles. Hovering over the river were flocks of dive-bombing Least Terns. On the mudflats in the river were several egrets and herons, including this immature Reddish Egret:
Glenn and I had seen Reddish Egrets here before in previous years; once, we saw two of them. Seeing an immature one in the same place a year later makes me wonder if they're breeding here now.
Every bird has a story—but some you can only guess at.