Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chat with a Chat

Forgive the corny title, I birded SJWS today. It was a breezy, slightly humid 76 degrees. I encountered a few of my old campers as I showed up at the tail end of marsh camp - which they are now old enough to be junior naturalists at. They had grown since I last saw them, I must be getting old, my "little campers" are now high schoolers nearly as tall as I am! Yikes. I admit I felt a certain measure of pride at seeing them still birding two or more years since I'd last seen them, hope that means they're hooked for life =)
The birds reflected my lazy mood as I walked around the ponds, they meandered around feeding. Terns, skimmers, and swallows flew circles above the ponds, as avocets, stilts, and mallards all fed and played on the water. The babies were adorable, fuzzy stilt and avocet babies wobbled around, and miniature mallards swam in little flotillas behind their parents.
Black Skimmer
I wandered around the back ponds, and saw the bird that inspired my title, a gorgeous yellow-breasted chat. He called from his perch and when I pished a little, he really got vocal. We went back and forth for a while, as I shot photo after photo in hopes of capturing a good shot of the little fellow mid-song, to which end I did not have success.
Gray Hairstreak

But I couldn't be too disappointed in missing that shot when there were so many other good things to photograph, like gray hairstreaks, skimmers, and some summer flowers.
Ruddy Duck
Mallow spp.?

Monday, June 02, 2008


I don't know how many of you keep lists, life lists, year lists, trip lists... ect. but there is a website that if you haven't heard of, you really need to visit. It's called eBird, and it's a website that allows you to input the birds you've seen at a particular location, say for example I birded at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary - I could click on it in the "birding hotspots" or find it using their interactive map, then go onto a checklist and tick off each species I saw. eBird then tallies it up and keeps a running total of your month, year, life, and county lists. Best of all, the information you input is used as scientific data that helps give us a picture of bird movement, population levels, and other important stuff like that.
You can backlog your trip reports too, which is how I added to the life list, going back through my notebooks of trips, and even using the back entries of this blog to remember trips and birds. It's not up to my actual life list yet, but I'm adding to it. I love this website, and I love that it emails me my trip lists all typed up. If you haven't, you should definitely consider getting an account (free) and starting your own lists, for memory, for personal record, or for the sake of adding to a body of scientific knowledge.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Birding @ UCI

Well today was a quiet day on campus. I rode my bike over to bird around a bit. There were the usual suspects, American Robins, Western Bluebirds, vociferous little House Wrens, and Black Phoebes. House Finches, American and Lesser Goldfinches, and Bushtits were all present and calling.

A single Olive-sided Flycatcher was a treat, sitting near the statues on the left side of the park by the bridge. A Cooper's Hawk buzzed overhead circling the park. Crows and Ravens mobbed it, and then sat at the tops of the sycamores cawing and croaking.

Up near the Science Library there were Rufous and Anna's Hummingbirds feeding on the honeysuckle. Behind some portables near the library there is an area of some odd pines, and willows and such - a small riparian area of sorts. In this, there were all three of the previous finches, Nuttall's Woodpeckers, and delightfully, a family of Hooded Orioles.

Near Steinhaus Hall there was an incredibly vocal Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon type). These little guys really please me for some reason, I think it's the cute pink bill that stands out against their dusky heads. Other sightings of interest included a flyby Forster's Tern in Aldrich, a White-throated Swift near Steinhaus, unfortunately, a flock of European Starlings over by Campus Village, and cutest of all, a mother Killdeer with babies in the open field across from my apartment complex, Vista del Campo Norte. It was a nice day out, but suprisingly quiet bird-wise, this really has been a subdued spring/early summer season.