I’m thinking of taking up astronomy. After all, among the local birding circles I am getting to be known lately as the “big dipper”. Since finding the Lucy’s Warbler a month ago (thanks to the help of Steve and Becky) I have dipped consistently at finding the uncommon migrants that passed through the greater Los Angeles area. Missed the Brewers Sparrow, the Northern Waterthrush and Black-throated Sparrow at Peck Pit and the warblers at Laguna Tams. I didn’t even bother to chase the rarities at HCP. And of course, the bird that holds a certain degree of schadenfreude for me – the Solitary Sandpiper - from everywhere!
So I considered my visit to Santa Fe Dam last Tuesday as my “physical exercise” (yeah, right! uh-huh). As was expected, I dipped miserably on the Vespers and Grasshopper Sparrows. At least I got the White-fronted Geese – now even a blind birder, if ever there was one, could not miss these birds. My day, however, was made right by the unusual cooperativeness of wrens. Two kinds, actually. The Rock and the Cactus.
First off, as I was traversing the path along the spillway, two, count ‘em, two, Rock Wrens were busily hunting for food a few feet away from me. They just did their thing, completely oblivious of me as if I was merely a part of the landscape. This was one of those rare moments that I don’t mind being treated like dirt. A couple of hundred feet up the path, another Rock Wren was basically doing the same thing.
Checking the grassy area just below the spillway for the uncommon sparrows and seeing nothing but the (ho-hum) Savannahs and White-crowneds, I returned trudgingly and perspiringly to the parking area. (Oh look, there’s those White-fronted Geese again, whopee!). I drove over to the other side of the park where the nature center was and hoped I won’t be mobbed again by vicious Ravens like my last visit there.
Just a few feet off the bicycle path I noticed a Cactus Wren building a nest! A little bit unusual for that to happen in October, I mused. But opportunity presented should be opportunity taken. And so for a good half-hour, I waited (the wren would fly off away from sight and would return minutes later with nesting stuff in its beak) and watched from a distance the untiring efforts of the this wren in building its home. In the blistering heat of the noonday sun even! After this, I continued on the trail and was surprised to find two, count ‘em, two, more Cactus Wrens playing tag ahead of me.
Now who says two wrens don’t make it right?
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