Thursday, November 30, 2006

Whittier Narrows

The air was nippy that Saturday morning we arrived at Whittier Narrows . The sun seemingly reluctant to wake from its slumber. It was uncharacteristically silent as we hit the trail that passes by a small pond.

Further down the trail I saw a bird perched on the top of tall bush. Without her binoculars (she lent it to my niece who was with us that day) Cynthia started ticking off possible ID’s:

“Kestrel” “Nope”

“Mourning Dove” “Guess again”

“What is it, then?” she asked, finally giving up.

“Northern Flicker”, I replied.

I tried to move closer to get a better angle, but as soon as I set up my tripod, it flew away. Not a good start I thought to myself.

We moved on and came upon a dried up pond. Just as we descended into it, the sun finally broke through from the horizon and flooded the thicket in front of us with its warm light. As if on cue, birds were suddenly everywhere! The particular bush where I focused my camera produced in quick succession: Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, Allen’s Hummingbird, Lesser Goldfinches and Anna’s Hummingbirds. Several feet away from me, Cynthia was stalking an American Robin. A flock of Bushtits flew by.

Our return route took us alongside a creek by the San Gabriel River . There we spotted a hawk quietly perched on a bare branch of a tall tree. It allowed us some photo ops before flying off on some avian errand. Continuing our stroll by the creek, we were startled by the scolding call of a Belted Kingfisher as it flew across the river. We tried to relocate it later but it was nowhere to be found. San Gabriel River yielded a few Killdeers, one Spotted Sandpiper and the ubiquitous Mallards. A great Egret soared silently close to us.

At 9 am, we called it a day, hied to the nearest Golden Arches and indulged in our usual Saturday morning routine.

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