Saturday, September 23, 2006

Humboldt County Scenery

I birded Humboldt County today and yesterday with Jim Lomax, Frances Oliver, and Daryl Coldren. Daryl's roomate Adam came with us today. It was great fun, I got a lot of county birds for Humboldt and Del Norte county, which my previous list totals had been zero for!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Arctic Tern SJWS

So after hearing that the Common Tern being seen at SJWS was actually an Arctic, and thus a lifer, I decided to go have a look for myself. Unfortunately I was very short on time, but I managed to spot one tern that seemed to fit the bill. That was my only decent photo. If I see anymore decent ones I can upload those too, maybe I'll go back tomorrow and try for a better view, it was a lifer afterall =)

In other news, the Costal Cleanup Day was a huge success, at least here at the Upper Newport Bay. The Cleanup Day is a state-wide event where people are invited to go into harbors, beaches and parks and clean up as much garbage as possible. For those of you who missed it this year, it is an annual event held the third Saturday of September every year. Did any of you other Californian bloggers participate? If so, where? For those of you non-californians, does your state have a clean-up day?

Do Your Part For Conservation... By Going Shopping!

Hey guys, I know most of you are 18+ and can and do carry credit cards. You might want to consider applying for a Nature Conservancy visa. Each time you use it on any purchase .65% of your price goes to conservation of one of four habitats:

1. The Idaho Mountains to protect wild salmon and the waterways
2. The Coral Reefs system for obvious reasons - good one for people who surf
3. Indonesia to protect the rainforests that house orangutans, clouded leopards and the like
4. The Colorado River which is a key source of water for the Southwest, but has suffered from years of overuse, and the money for this one protects the waterway and the endangered fish species within it.

Every little bit helps right? Check it out here...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Osprey Watching

I had a very relaxing day today, I had originally planned on getting up early and going birding at HCP, but when the alarm clock went off I decided that I really needed more sleep. So instead of getting up at the crack of dawn and birding hard, I settled for coffee and CNN and a short walk later in the day. I wasn't disappointed either. Although it was still fairly sunny and warm, the air had a different feel and the lighting was totally different, time to face the fact that fall is indeed here. I didn't see or hear a whole lot, but one special sighting made the walk worthwhile. An osprey was hunting over the SJWS creek, and allowed me one very amazing shot and maybe three full minutes of spactacular views. magnificent! I rounded out the walk with a few photos of other wildlife, including a Marine Blue and a grasshopper of some sort, haven't learned to properly I.D. those yet...
Even though this one isn't perfectly in focus, I liked it

Saturday, September 09, 2006


I had been putting off going to chase the Ruff down at San Elijo Lagoon in San Diego due to homework and general stress and exhaustion. During a break from working on one of my two papers due Monday, I checked the OrCoRBA just to see if anything new was around. There was a Ruff reported from my local patch, SJWS! I grabbed my camera and raced over there, it was 5:30ish, still light enough to go chase it. So another lifer this month, seems to be a good fall for me - despite large amounts of homework and general busy schedule =)
p.s. the bird feeding next to it in a couple of the shots is a Pectoral Sandpiper.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lizard I.D.

Anybody know what this little guy is? I found it on the screen door of my bedroom today. It was really really small, slender, and orange with some patterning down the sides, and a very long tail. Sorry for the poor quality, for some reason my camera refused to focus - even when I did it manually - on the entire lizard. Maybe it's the screen...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sunday Birding 9-3-06

I birded the park across Culver from Mason Regional Park this morning. There were a few migrants there, and just a lot of birds in general. I haven't been able to get a total species count for the morning because I forgot my little field notebook, so I didn't keep a running tally, but I'm pretty sure it was high. The highlights species-wise included a calling Least Bell's Vireo, which seemed awfully late, and a Spotted Sandpiper by the cement ponds in Mason Regional Park. I also saw my second coyote of the weekend, and a Blue-eyed Darner =)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Salton Sea 9-1-06

Alex Thomas and I went to the Salton Sea yesterday. I got some great landscape photos that I put on a seperate post. We got to the Whitewater River Delta at about 7am. We heard gunshots all around us, as it was the first day of hunting season, eek! We saw a coyote run through the brush at one point, probably spooked by the sound of gunfire. We saw her life Clark's Grebe... dead -one of the first of many dead things we saw during our day there - but managed to find a live one in the river to count. There were more Western and Clark's Grebes there in the water than I have ever seen in one place in my life. Alex spotted a Red-breasted Merganser in with the flock of Grebes. It was too far off to get a good picture of, but I snapped a few anyway just for docmentation and I.D. purposes.
We then turned our attention towards the sea. We scanned the water line, and immediately recognised the shape we had come to find. A sub-adult Blue-footed Booby sat on a pile of dead branches, posing for us. The booby seemed utterly uninterested in our presence as we slowly moved closer and closer. At that point we were joined by David VanderPluym, Oscar Johnson, and Colin Wilkinson. We all got great photos of the booby, and eventually even lost interest in it, choosing instead to check out the rest of the plentiful birds at that location, like a Large-billed Savannah Sparrow.
Following them we worked our way down the sea toward the south end. The temperature climbed and at the hottest point reached a toasty 114 degrees. We stopped and walked around in the tamerisk at one spot, where we saw a plethora of species, including Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Wilson's and Yellow Warblers, a Hooded Oriole, a Loggerhead Shrike, Inca Doves, and most exciting of all for me - Lesser Nighthawks flying around in broad daylight! They were too fast to get photos of in flight, but I did manage to get a photo of one perched on a tree trunk. That was probably one the the highlights of the day for me. =)
You can tell you're getting hot and tired when you start making really stupid mistakes, like getting your car stuck in mud at the Salton Sea. Luckily Dave knew what to do, and with his knowledge, the boys combined strength, and a lot of luck, they got my car out of the mud. My heros!
We moved on to Red Hill Marina where we had no luck trying for the Piping Plover. By this point everyone agreed it would be wise to get out of the sun for a while and take a break. We headed into Brawley, and ate some good mexican food, drank cold beverages, and discussed various environmental topics.We started again, birding various tributaries away from the sea itself. We picked up a few more species here, and then parted ways with the boys to head for home.
About an hour after leaving them we got a call from Dave. They had found a Roseate Spoonbill and a Tricolored Heron. Alex and I almost cried. We talked it over, and decided that we just couldn't handle driving all the way there and back. We were already exhausted, and had a few more hours drive ahead of us to get home. We would have had to spend the night somewhere in the sea if we turned back. So we drove home, feeling slighted and tired. All in all however it was an amazing trip. Alex got over 12 life birds, I got at least one, and a good time was had by all!
Here are the rest of the photos from the trip:

(Can anyone ID the butterlies, they seemed like they could be skippers, and that dragonfly?)

Salton Sea Scenery

I went to the Salton Sea with Alex Thomas yesterday, September 1st 2006. We had an amazing day full of good sightings, and new experiences. Here are some of the scenery shots, I'll follow this post up with one that talks more about the day and has photos of the birds we saw. I felt that the images of the sea can be so powerful on their own, and that I got so many beautiful photos, that they deserved a seperate post.

The last two photos are of a coyote we saw running, probably spooked by the gunshots we kept hearing, it was the first day of hunting season. =/ The second is of a pair of tiny little paw prints we saw, just one of many sets of tracks we enjoyed studying while we made the 1/2 mile walk out the the river mouth. We have no idea what could have made tracks so small, are there weasels at the sea? They were so tiny, they would have fit inside the toe prints of the canine tracks nearby.