October was a lot of fun. Many birds came to visit the Magic Bowl, a chrome and emerald oasis in a city turning brown from drought. A visitor blown off course inspired cheers from the small crowd who came just for him. Yellow throated Warbler. Life bird. The “secret stairs” are nearby, an escape route in case of Tsunami. Madrona Marsh had the bold color-block faced Lark Sparrows singing their sweet song. Ballona Freshwater Marsh was busy with coots and biting bugs. New bugs that bite in broad daylight. The Bushtits were dining on teensie hot dogs. We saw Red breasted Nuthatches and Mountain Chickadees at the Getty Villa. Days earlier we chased those nuthatches all over South Coast Botanic Garden. And Inceville ( Pacific Palisades.) Not too far from home and errands. The Bushtits, Spotted Towhees, California Towhees, Wrentits, quail, scrub jays and now White Crowned Sparrows check in for the bowls of water we bring. The Blue gray Gnatcatchers, Oak Titmice, and Ruby crowned Kinglets only tease us. I fear that migration is ending and our window to see these amazing creatures is closing. Let’s see what November will bring. As always, I am inspired by what you see and photograph and appreciate your support.
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It's baby season. It's murder season. It's Spring Time!
Collage wrap-up: Oriole, Wrentit derp, rattlesnake tail, big baby jay, and flowers photos taken at Inceville. Swallow beat down, nesting Snowy Plover, and Yellow-headed Blackbird photos taken at Malibu Lagoon. Wren in/on the dog poop bag dispenser (check out the legs on lunch!) taken at White Point Nature Reserve Palos Verdes Peninsula. Flying Western Tanager and red flower photos taken at Chilao in the San Gabriel Mountains Angeles Crest. Bushtit in flowers was taken at South Coast Botanic Garden.
Not represented in the collage, the Phainopeplas that have returned to Los Liones Canyon. Are you still awake?
Of all places to find a new bird! Inceville, or as most people would know it, Los Liones Canyon. It's one of our favorite haunts and we are there a few days a week. If we are lucky we beat the BDBs (beer drinking bums) to grab the best table. The brush has been horribly (but perhaps responsibly) hacked back (for fire safety reasons) and the critters have adapted. The rains transformed the drought taupe color of the canyon to verdant green. Now, the green is receding and being rapidly replaced by shades of brown. The migrant sparrows have left us and we miss their sweet songs and magical energy. Our year round birds remain, including the California and Spotted Towhees, Oak Titmice, Wrentits, California Thrashers, California Scrub Jays, MODOs, House Finches, Goldfinches and the non-native parrots. Not a long list and they blend into the dried flowers and drab plants.
Mystery bird moved like a Wrentit.... they are built for "flying" through a tangle of twigs and branches. I catch a glimpse. Yellow? Can't be. I hoist up the camera and fire off one blurry shot. Ca-ching!
I sent the less than optimal photo to my experts. ID confirmed : Female Yellow-breasted Chat. Terrible photo on the second row. Lifer.
It's fun getting a new bird. But the degree of "fun" varies. A bird we've wanted for a long time gets a happy dance. The new bird you discover going through the shots of the day gets a loud sucking inhale and hard stare. Could it be?
As we hike we hear and see the big babies fresh from the nest. They follow the parents and beg to be fed. We have the new edition of jays. Some with a bit of baby gape. One has an endearing cowlick of belly feathers.
Suddenly all the jays flock to one small bush and scream. Jerry and W9 investigate. Our resident rattlesnake has taken a jay… on our watch.
... Language is leaving me.
I am so heartbroken. It's hard to talk about it. But the jay taken wasn't the silly energetic youngster with the cowlick belly feathers.
May gray has transitioned into June gloom. The days are longer and the light is terrible. But already June seems to be shaping up to be a good month.
I wish you all happy birding, good light, and no biting bugs.
Anstatt zu beschweren, dass der Rosenstock voller Dornen ist, sei froh, dass der Dornbusch Rosen hat.
Au lieu de se plaindre que le rosier est plein d'épines, soyez heureux que le buisson épineuse ait des roses.
In plaats van te klagen dat de rozebos vol doornen is, wees blij dat de doornbos rozen heeft.
Tags: pekabo90401 Bird watching Bird watching Los Angeles Lightroom Canon Camaraderie Canyon monkey collage friendship Los Liones Los liones canyon southern california birds South Coast Botanic Garden malibu birds chilao poppy Wesen western tanager hooded oriole california scrub jay house wren Wrentit Lifer Life bird yellow-breasted chat 100-400 80D canon 80 D white point nature reserve snowy plovers Malibu Lagoon cliff swallows wildflowers oriole derp yellow headed blackbird squirrel rattlesnake 鳥 鸟 fugl lind oiseau ibon πουλί 새 avem manu پرنده птица chim นก Inceville Bushtit TLDR jimson weed Datura wrightii
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It has been an exciting Spring.
Our seasonal, overcast skies have arrived. The June gloom now starts in May. May grey, then June gloom, followed by no-sky July, and finally Fogust. It just makes sense to sleep late.
After a big media hype, we expected floods followed by a deluge; regrettably, El Nino was a no-show.
We got three lifers this month. (middle row across) The Hooded Warbler (Thank you, Jun + Bin!!!!) The Olive Sided Flycatcher, not rare but a life bird for me, and (drum roll…) The Glossy Ibis.
The Hooded Warbler is a fantastic little bird! We checked in with the mass (or gathering) of bird paparazzi infesting the park before sitting down to eat lunch. We had picked up some yummy sandwiches. While settling in on top of the picnic table, facing the shutter bugs, with two bites into a savory sandwich, Jerry announces "I see him!" In the shadows and through a chain link fence, we could see the warbler move through the leaf litter. Completely camouflaged until he turned his face toward us. What a wonderful, magnificent face, a beam of sunshine.
We returned later that week but the little radiant yellow faced bird, with a halo of black, was nowhere to be seen.
Last weekend we drove out to the Sepulveda Dam Recreation area to see the Glossy Ibis. Another unexpected avian visitor in our patch. Do you think he got his directions from the Hooded Warbler?
Top row stars are the Pacific Loon in breeding plumage and the Pepla-guy (Phainopepla.) We were thrilled to see the Pepla- Lady (third row next to the Ibis) sitting on her nest in Los Liones Canyon. Sadly, the nest was abandoned and then disappeared. Maybe they took it apart and moved before they started a family? We still hear and see them so I hope they stay a while.
We met friends at South Coast Botanic Garden, Del Rey Lagoon, and Ballona Creek and the Freshwater Marsh.
We are getting better at bird ID though we still stumble at times.
Let's smash (or crack) our plastic cups of beer together in a toast to enjoyable birding and camaraderie.
Tags: monkeys Bird watching Birdwatching Los Angeles Ballona Freshwater Marsh Ballona del rey lagoon southern california birds SX 50 80D Canon SX 50 canon canon 80D 100-400 canon lens lightroom collage pekabo90401 South Coast Botanic Garden olive sided flycatcher hooded warbler glossy ibis ibis inceville Los Liones canyon monkey madrona marsh friendship Camaraderie gosling duckling Wrentit tree swallow western bluebird Will Rogers State Historic Park polo Hummingbirds Allen's Hummingbird crow canada goose mallard pacific loon breeding plumage baby season rare bird polo horses egyptian goose orange crowned warbler american avocet townsend's warbler Bushtit Phainopepla Señor Pepto pepla-guy wesen
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March comes in like a lion and goes out like a monkey, (blame Jerome for the monkey jag.) Sizzor-guy is officially AWOL. The last day we saw the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher he was positively frolicking with a group of Cassin’s Kingbirds. A few days later we cruised through Woodlawn Cemetery only to find a few human fans huddled together keeping the home fires alive for his return.
No new birds this month. But a “New” camera thanks to W9. The SX-50 was sent in for repairs but the SX-60 was returned. Somehow, thanks to Lou and W9, a spare camera became available for me to investigate and test drive.
We visited Madrona Marsh a few times and are glad to report the ponds have returned.
A levitating horse was found at Will Rogers State Historic Park. One day, we took a fun walk around celebrity infested Pacific Palisades, taking photos of flowers while toying with camera settings. We chased Bushtits and hummers. I nearly took a serious header at Los Liones Canyon when attempting to navigate the dry creek bed, losing my footing. I spent the next few minutes lurching one way and then, staggering to recover my balance as I continued to stumble over the uneven rocky ground for a tediously long time. I felt that a gymnast final pose was in order, throwing both arms up in a victory stance. Clean socks and underpants are now on my must have packing list when we go adventuring. I don’t want to be a disgrace when the paramedics toss my mortified sack of bones, hopefully still unbroken, into the back of the van.
There is no guarantee that we will find any new (edit. not good. They are all good.) birds when we go out but friendship and camaraderie are always celebrated.
A big thank you to Jerry and W9.
And to my flickr friends a big thank you for all your support and inspiration.
Tags: Bushtit bunny levitating horse southern california birds SX-60 canon SX 60 canon pekabo90401 Los Liones los liones canyon inceville Camaraderie friendship flowers killdeer merlin sizzor-guy Scissor-tailed Flycatcher madrona marsh poppy Bird watching Birdwatching Los Angeles Will Rogers State Historic Park WRSHP Hummingbird city parrots Nanday Conure Nanday magic bowl vance street woodlawn cemetery birds red tailed hawk Red winged blackbird common Yellowthroat warbler tiny and fast lightroom lightroom collage collage fox sparrow mallard duckling mallard duckling horse lizard hooded oriole oriole lark sparrow vogel california quail near death fall
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Winter in Los Angeles has transitioned to Spring. The welcomed rainy season left our canyons green. Flowers are blooming. Great big scary bugs are flying the friendly skies. And it's baby season.
The alien looking flying insect is a Teddy ( not Honey) Bear Bee. Another horror that was hell bent on flying into my face. I think it's as big as a baked potato. And did I mention that it flies, slowly, at face level. Buzzing loudly. This and the White-crowned Sparrow were taken at Los Liones Canyon.
We happened upon two life birds this month. W9 IDed a bird based on the research done to find the bird with a voice in the background of a Cornell bird feeder cam. The Canyon Wren. He is sitting on a fence in poor light. What a fun filled song!
The center bird, yes there's a bird in there, is the second life bird we found this month. And by "we" I mean W9. We were skulking Ballona Freshwater Marsh when W9 stopped. I stop. We look. Off in the distance and through the haze stands The American Bittern. We have wanted this bird for a long time. Last year or the year before some teenage tourists stopped us to ask us questions. We told them that we were searching for the bittern. 30 minutes later they passed us giggling. They showed us photos of the bittern on their pocket sized point and shoot.
So W9 and I stood frozen watching the bittern. Too far away for anything but ID documentation photos. The bittern looked our way. Like that neighbor you never see and then one foggy morning you think you see him at the front door in his bathrobe…. before you can blink, the apparition has dissolved.
The Belted Kingfisher, baby coot, and gosling photos were taken at Madrona Marsh. I will never forget Tracy Drake’s warm welcome. We were new birders. So new that we didn't even know we were birders yet.
Jerry took us back to Malibu Creek State Park. The very place where last year we found the rare, Indigo Bunting. He hasn't arrived yet but his handsome cousins are there and they are singing their pants off.
Lower right hand corner holds the California Gnatcatcher. Photo taken on the last day of April. These birds are hopefully making a comeback. It was a bit more than a hop skip and a jump to get to White Point Preserve on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It is an interesting area in many ways. The main road along the cliffs suffered a big landslide a few years back so a detour is the only way to get there. Great for the lucky folks who live where the coastal route was. The screaming motorcycles don't roar through the neighborhood anymore. Our Gnatcatchers were vocal (think slowly stepping on a squeak toy) while posing in the brush, fanning out their tails.
It was an exciting month and one we will be challenged to top.
Thank you for your visits and kind words.
For what it's worth I have tinkered with camera settings and gave shooting in RAW another stab.
I wish you all good light, no wind, and no biting bugs.... unless you like that sort of thing.
Tags: Gelbkehlchen Weidengelbkehlchen Antifacito Norteño Caretica Cigüita Enmascarada Cuelliamarillo Común Enmascarado Norteño Mascarita Común Reinita de Antifaz Reinita Gorgigualda Reinita Pica Tierra Fauvette masquée Paruline à gorge jaune Paruline masquée Sylvette masquée Желтогорлый масковый земляной певун 黄喉地莺 カオグロアメリカムシクイ kaoguroamerikamushikui wesen Catherpes mexicanus pacific palisades birds canyon monkey pekabo90401 camaraderie friendship birds of southern california inceville lightroom mus 80-D 100-400 canon canon 80-D Zonotrichia leucophrys Bruant à couronne blanche Zacatero mixto spatz Chim sẻ Sparv passero воробей 참새 スズメ american bittern bittern 麻雀 collage sparrow moineau spurv chim se sẻ manu liilii σπουργίτης marsh monkey lazuli bunting malibu creek state park marsh ballona freshwater marsh life bird lifer bird canyon wren california gnatcatcher gnatcatcher gnat raptor gosling Canada goose american coot coot coot baby belted kingfisher kingfisher honey bear bee TLDR Teddy bear bee
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