Taking advantage of a break in the stormy weather Southern California has been experiencing lately (with more to come tomorrow) I thought I'd visit Legg Lake in El Monte to "document" the Red-throated Loon that was seen there yesterday. It is rather unusual for a seabird like a loon to be hanging out in a freshwater inland lake so the birding gurus in Los Angeles County would like to see a photo which, thankfully, I was able to get without any problem at all.
What got my attention though was the flock of Dark-eyed Juncos feeding by the picnic tables. As you know there are several "varieties" of Dark-eyed Juncos differing slightly in plumage coloration. What I noticed in this particular flock was that there were individuals that differ from the very common Oregon variety. Looking closely, I was able to pick-out what I believe to be the Pink-sided variety and a male and female of the Slate-colored subspecies! What boggles my mind is why these three different varieties all flock together. Aren't subspecies supposed to be separated geographically? Or does this "flocking" happen only during the non-breeding season? Moreover, the different "kinds" of Dark-eyed Juncos are quite distinct from each other that they should be elevated to a species status. I mean there are sandpipers that look so very much alike that are of different speciation. Why not then the Dark-eyed Juncos?
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