Sunday, March 31, 2013

From Sea to Shining Sea

Our short 10-day visit to California was intended for family and friends. We went birding, of course, but these were limited to the places that were already familiar to us. They were, for all intents and purposes, cursory birding.

After seeing my nemesis bird at last at John Baca Park in Orange County, we went to Bolsa Chica, a wetland area right next to the Huntington Beach Park (which abuts the Pacific Ocean). Unfortunately, it was the "gap" period. That time when birds that spent the winter here were now on their way to the Arctic while those that enjoyed the tropics still hadn't arrived. Nevertheless I was still rewarded with some good views of the "locals".

Blue-winged Teal
Greater Yellowlegs
The following day Cynthia and I went to Eaton Canyon. When we were still residing in Pasadena, we considered this as our "neighborhood" birding place. It is a small park nestled at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. This is where sightings of the Wrentit, a tiny, brown, brazen featherball is almost guaranteed. 

This is also where I would always find the Golden-crowned Sparrow.

Next morning it was Legg Lake for me. For sheer diversity of bird species, this is the place to be. Consider seeing an American White Pelican swimming on the placid lake while in the trees next to the body of water Cedar Waxwings enjoy bountiful fruits.

On the fourth day was a long trek around the hills of Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park. This was where the puzzle of taxonomy was so vividly illustrated. Try differentiating these two separate distinct species of Grebes:

Then wonder why these two Juncos which were obviously so different in coloring from each other was considered as a single species!

For our final birding day, we returned to the sea. This time at Playa del Rey, not that far from the LAX Airport. Again, the "gap" was quite noticeable here. Luckily I was able to photograph two of my target species right where I expected to see them.

Black Oystercatcher
Five couple-of-hours birding sorties may not be much, but still I was happy to see some of the birds I missed last year.

No comments: