Friday, September 28, 2007

Small World

I was shopping with a friend at South Coast Plaza today, and as we walked out to our car, the man parked across from me asked what my license plate meant, and introduced himself as Bob Morse, co-author of Birds of the Los Angeles Region. He offered me a signed copy of the book, which I readily accepted since I hadn't purchased it yet =)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Arctic Warbler in Kern!

Yesterday I was sitting at my computer editing photos from Mason Park when my old roomate Matt told me that an Arctic Warbler had just been seen in Kern County. Because it would be a lifer, I desperately wanted to chase it, but I didn't want to drive out to the desert by myself, especially since my car is a little too far past its scheduled oil change.
I was able to catch a ride with a young birder from Riverside. We drove for 3 hours, hoping that it would be there and that we could see it and get home in one night. When we finally got there, we saw a crowd of birders watching it and ran over to see it. The bird was foraging completely oblivious to our camera clicks and coming so close we could almost have touched it. We watched it making circles around the cottonwoods, and then finally got back on the road towards home.

Ironically, we were discussing how the bird probably didn't show up all by itself, and lo and behold today we hear that there are actually TWO Arctic Warblers at Galileo!

I'm actually a little disappointed with how my photos came out, they just don't do the bird or the views we got of it justice... maybe it's time to buy a new lens... ;)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Wednesday Birding at SJWS

I spent some time in the afternoon at SJWS on Wednesday, but this morning was the first chance I got to edit the photos I took. It was not so much a birding day as it was butterflies and dragonflies. I saw at least 4 or 5 species of odes and 3 or 4 leps. It was sunny and warm, but not as oppressively hot as it had been in the first part of the week.
The birding was decent, but nothing really unexpected showed itself, it was pretty late in the day for warblers, only a few OCWAs and a WIWA or two showed up. The Yellow-breasted Chat was a welcome sight, I don't see those little buggers as often as I'd like...

Mason Park

I birded Mason Park this morning around 7am, my apartment is so close I can ride a bike there now. It was nice and cool and quite birdy. The fall migration has clearly begun because the orange-crowed warblers were out in abundance, and there were plenty of wilson's warblers and yellow warblers as well. I saw two warbling vireos and a black-throated gray foraging in the sycamores, but couldn't seem to get a good photo of anything to save my life, I guess that means I'll be spending more time at Mason this fall trying for those nice warbler shots =)

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Demographics of Birding

I'm working on a final for a research class I'm taking this summer, and I came across this very interesting PDF that I thought I'd share. It's a demographic analysis of birders in the United States, and it's very thorough... check it out HERE, or if you prefer, its the first link on the top of this Google search.

Heat Wave

So I'm not entirely sure why I felt it would be a good idea to go birding in the middle of the day during a heat wave in Southern California, but I did. I went to Upper Newport Bay around 11:30 and the birds were suprisingly active when I walked up. A large mixed flock of shorebirds sat on the edge of the waterline and talked and milled around quite a lot. An osprey circling far off may have provided the reason for this afternoon activity.

The flock was comprised of avocets, marbled godwits, a few dowitchers and a lone red knot mixed with some ring-billed gulls, caspian terns and one or two elegant and royal terns mixed in. Moving on, some long-billed curlews were walking around lazily in the heat. I walked over to the Big Canyon loop trail to get under the shady cover of the sycamores, and found a very active and brave little wren who foraged for insects only a few feet from me out in the open and completely ignoring the clicks of my camera as I shot photos.

I birded for another 15 minutes or so, then the heat got to me and I began feeling light-headed, which I took at my cue to head indoors for lunch.