Thursday, November 22, 2007

Nix Nature Center

Yesterday I went down to the newly opened Nix Nature Center. It is a part of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park - a large parcel of land set aside, I think by Donald Bren's Irvine Company, to be left wild. I've only been there two times before, and on both occasions, I was there less than 20 minutes birding the parking lot, as both were Orange County big days.

Unfortunately, with all my pre-Thanksgiving errands, I didn't make it there until 3pm only to find out they lock the gates at 4pm... darn. So I quickly peeked into the center to see what it was like, then stuck close to the parking lot and birded the sycamores. I had wanted to get back further in, since two of the research projects I'm interested in working on are conducted at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge them for a better look.

It was a monoculture of yellow-rumped warblers - and every one I saw was the Audubon's variety. There were a few golden-crowned sparrows, and some white-crowned sparrows, juveniles and adults both, feeding in the buckwheat. There were lesser goldfinches saying their downward slurred "peeewww" and wrentits with their bouncing ball call.

The area was a perfect example of why those wildfires a few weeks back raged out of control, it was bone dry. They did a good job on the native vegetation around the center, there was laural sumac, buckwheat, stream monkeyflower, coyote bush, encelia, and some others I recognized, but couldn't recall a name for. A red-tailed hawk circled over the parking lot, signaling my time to leave, it was nearly 4, and I don't think my family would appreciate me being locked in the parking lot all night since I'm the one cooking our dinner tonight!

Another photo you should probably click on to see the birds atop the buckwheat...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Click the phrase above to see my post from last year with all sorts of facts about Thanksgiving's mascot, the turkey...

No comments: