Monday, February 18, 2008

Birding @ UCI

Today we had no class because of President's Day, so I went birding on campus with my friend Christina who is taking ornithology with me. Rather than walk through Aldrich Park like I always do on campus, we walked up California Ave, behind the ARC (anteater recreation center) where there is a lot of open grassy areas with natives like mulefat and and some yucky non-natives like mustard and artichoke thistle. We watched giant flocks of lesser goldfinch gorging themselves in the rosemary bushes bordering the street, and Christina was suprised as how responsive they were when I pished in a flock of bushtits.

We saw a single horned lark, which very much excited us, and fifteen minutes later there were 20 or more of them. One wandered very very close giving us great looks at him. A western meadowlark sang from a sycamore, and as we walked up to see it, a giant black-tailed jackrabbit (!!!) flushed away toward the ravine. It was a life mammal for Christina, and definitely a county species for me. The last time I saw them was when I went to Death Valley with my class at IVC.

We compared Anna's hummingbirds to an Allen's hummer we found on a branch, and saw both California and spotted towhees, and watched a murder of crows reacting to a red-tailed hawk that was circling the ARC soccer fields.

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