Monday, March 16, 2009

Friday the 13th

It was eerily quiet as we walked along the trail, as if the presence of something sinister frightened the creatures of the sanctuary into silence. As we trudged slowly we could sense some movements along the trail – trembling leaves when there wasn’t any breeze to stir them or a shaking twig but no bird or squirrel jumping off from it. Small, dark things would swiftly scurry across the path ahead only to quickly vanish in the dense undergrowth. As we neared the pond, we could hear a faint twittering sound. The closer we approached the reeds that lined the edge of the pond, the sound became louder. Suddenly the whole placed seemed to reverberate with a thousand scolding tiny voices. We abruptly stopped on our tracks. My wife grabbed my arm and with eyes fixed on the vibrating reeds whispered in my ear.

“Marsh Wrens!”, she said.

Early on we thought that we were having spring doldrums when most of the wintering birds have left for their breeding grounds up north, while only a few of the summering birds have arrived from their tropical vacations, thus creating somewhat of a void in bird activities. Thankfully it wasn’t so. The Marsh Wrens certainly proved that. Soon there were birds everywhere! A small flock of American White Pelicans were floating serenely on the pond waters while Tree Swallows were zooming overhead, ocassionally buzzing us by just a few inches.

The other ponds at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine yielded a variety of waterfowls. One of which, the Blue-winged Teal, became the latest addition to our year list.


Later, a quick drive-by at Upper Newport Bay gave us a huge flock of Black Skimmers all standing on a mud flat, with everyone facing the same way as if watching some grand concert (or a politician promising a bailout?).


A trip to Bolsa Chica before lunch was rewarded by the sight of a wild, unruly and extremely raucous bunch of Elegant Terns.


Capping the morning was getting quite close-up views of the lingering White-winged Scoter.


It was Friday the thirteenth and it was a thriller.

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11 comments:

April said...

What wonderful sightings you had! The Blue-winged Teal is such a beautiful looking duck. A very lucky Friday the 13th indeed!

mick said...

A very good list for the day - regardless of the date!

Sparverius said...

Nice bird day. Lots of great birds. Nice addition to your year list.

MaineBirder said...

So much for the saying about bad luck on Friday the 13th! You had a great day and beautiful photos to show for it!

Wisconsin Birder said...

Nothing scary about that day of birding! Great photos - love the blue-winged teal.

Kallen305 said...

I can't get over all of the unique birds you saw. Love the pictures.

Larry Jordan said...

Excellent captures of the Blue-winged Teal Bob, and the Black Skimmers are very cool, all looking like they're watching a show of some sort.

Great birding day!

The Zen Birdfeeder said...

Funny, I just saw Black Skimmers last week in Florida, posted their picture as well, commenting on that habit of all facing the same way!
Nice post!

T and S said...

The image of the Blue-winged Teal is beautiful with sharp details and catchlight in the eyes. Well done...Thomas

Vickie said...

Lovely trip. The blue-winged teals are beautiful.

Atanasio Fernández García said...

Hi Birders! You have some great images in your blog and very interesting information on species that are unknown to me. Greetings from Extremadura (Spain)!