Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ornithology Lab: Bolsa Chica

Well today our lab was at Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach. It had rained for a few hours in the early morning prior to the lab, and many of us wondered if it would be cancelled. We showed up to the parking lot and found everyone bundled up and ready. We walked across the boardwalk where we saw plenty of double-crested cormorants, ruddy ducks, bufflehead, american coots, and a pied-billed grebe.
Belding's Savannah Sparrow
Good looks at both male and female surf scoters was a treat for me, especially when I managed to snap a shot of a female scoter eating some sort of mollusk.
Surf Scoter - male

Surf Scoter - female, she's got some sort of mollusk in her mouth!

Lesser scaup, both males and females were there in large numbers, as were northern pintails, and all three species of teal - cinnamon, blue-winged and green-winged. As we walked to the green fence, we saw a large number of shorebirds walking along the shoreline.
One-legged sanderling
Dulin, red knots, dowitchers, willets, and western and least sandpipers were all in there, and a lone one-legged sanderling picked its way along the shoreline alone.
Lesser Scaup

Northern Pintail - females

Northern Pintail - male

A greater yellowlegs in among the American avocets, marbled godwits, and dunlin, provided the opportunity to study this species' behavior.
Greater Yellowlegs

A horned grebe provided a great contrast to the eared grebes we had been seeing on our last few trips, and a western grebe represented the larger grebes as well.
Horned Grebe
Western Grebe
It was quite cold out, and every once in a while we would get droplets of cold rain spitting on our faces. A pretty rainbow cut across the sky while we birded, providing some brightness to an otherwise overcast morning. We cut the trip short despite the large amount of good birds, partly due to the weather, and partly because it's a good half hour drive back to campus.

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