Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunny Sunday Afternoon Walk at the Marsh

What a simply amazing day I had out at the marsh! I took a different route and it was like being in a whole new place. Those trails have really grown up (as have I) since I walked them maybe three or more years ago. It was sunny and bright, I used my camera's sunshade to great advantage. I Wish I'd applied sunblock to my shoulders, by the end of the walk they matched my shirt... bright red.

The trails smelled sweet and it seemed like everything was in bloom. I checked all the bladderpod I passed for good shots of those handsome little Harlequin Beetles. I passed a few couples on the trails, but was mostly left alone. I was glad for the peaceful and tranquil time. I crossed paths with a Mourning Cloak that allowed me to take simply stunning shots of him, and even landed on my hat to bask in the sun.

I got a unique view of a Western Fence Lizard and played with shots of a crow in odd lighting, you'll have to tell me what you all think of that one. A gorgeous Snowy Egret in full breeding plumage allowed me the most amazing views I've seen, stalking and spearing small fish and ignorning my presence. Young Tree Swallows were making shaky first attempts at airborne acrobatics and doing pretty well. I got photos of a young one poking out of the nest box, as well as a watchful mother with a brood patch showing.

As left I walked out along the creek and got some photos of the Cliff Swallow nests and peer wistfully into the barb-wired off area across Mac Arthur from the Marsh. I doubt it's open to the public but it was teeming with good birds and possible photographs... perhaps someday I'll figure out a way to bird it. I stopped by the UCI Arboretum for the first time, but it's closed sundays so I think I'll go back tomorrow. It looks promising, and perhaps I can get to the place I saw from in there. Hmm.

Friday, April 21, 2006

American Lady

Ladies are some of my favorite butterflies (in July when I turn 18 a West Coast Lady will permanently reside on my shoulder), although I'm partial to blues and hairstreaks as well. Especially Western-pygmy blues, so awesome. The one above it is an unidentified insect, anyone know what it is? It's pretty at least. These pics should have been in the last post but that's alright.

Fly of some sort?
American Lady

Peters Canyon

I went on a hike today with a friend. We hiked Peters Canyon (not much of a canyon, but hills aplenty. It was very nice, sun shining but some clouds and a fairly strong breeze blowing. Not many birds as the hike was from 2-5ish, not the birdiest time of day, but we did see bluebirds, towhees, goldfinches, and a vulture quite close, and heard gnatcatchers and COYEs all over. Took a photo of what I thought was a West Coast Lady, got it home and looked at it and realized it was an American Lady, a new butterfly for me. If I did it this time I'm sure I've misidentified them in the past.
Turkey Vulture
It's not stinking gourd, it smells like peanut butter when you rub the leaves.

way to blink buddy
Blue-eyed grass
Stink bug, back away slowly.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Sunny Southern California

Today is going to be as gorgeous as yesterday was, 75 degrees and beautiful out! Speaking of yesterday, here's a few pics from my short walk around Sea and Sage...

Semipalmated Plover
Flowers from the Passionvine
curious baby Tree Swallow in a nest box
Wilson's Phalaropes
Snowy Egret
Great-blue Heron
galls on a leaf

Monday, April 17, 2006

She's Got a Brood Patch!

Looks like my "mystery bird" from the last post was an Olive-sided Flycatcher. Olive-sided and Western Wood Pewee being the options. I blew up a few more pics, looked at my sibley and listened to the calls (even though I didn't hear it directly maybe I heard it calling while looking at other birds in the area) and asked a few of my better birder friends for help.

I went back out this afternoon around 3pm for round two of birding. Ran into Sally Menzel (co-founder and past co-president of Sea and Sage's Junior Naturalist Program) which was a very pleasant suprise. Got a few pictures of the monarch, the Great Blue on the trail was a treat, and a mother Tree Swallow complete with visible brood patch posed for me on the nest box. I promise I didn't get too close. It was a lovely and leisurely walk.

Monday Afternoon Walk

Walked the wild area just next to Mason Regional Park. Saw and heard lots of birds, Downey Woodpeckers, multiple species of warblers including Orange-crowned, Wilson's, Yellow-breasted Chat, Yellow, and Common Yellowthroats. Both Hooded and Bullock's Orioles, and Warbling Vireos coming in. Seeing less YRWAs and no RCKIs, seems like they're gone for the summer now.

Ticks... glad they where on the grass, not me!
The ever gorgeous California Poppy, the state's official flower, as well as my favorite.
Orange-crowned Warbler

I could use some help with this one, juv. flycatcher perhaps? It was flycatching. When it flew it had a small amount of pale yellow on the belly. Decent sized bird, drab gray, didn't call.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Wilson's Warbler and Nashville Warbler, not fantastic photos but worth it anyhow =)

Easter Sunday Birds

Birded around Upper Newport Bay and the small nature trail behind Bonita Creek Park. Saw and heard plenty of birds. Weather was really pleasant but a bit windy for taking photos.
Song Sparrow

Common Yellowthroat (female)

Spotted Towhee

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Sea and Sage

Here's my first attempt to post some pics. I took these today at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.

My First Blog

I've created a blog to help me begin my pathway into a new appreciation of birding - nature photography. Here's to seeing how it goes!