Sunday, April 03, 2016

Water Low

"The Boy" was supposed to bring a lot of rainfall to Southern California. El Nino is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean that supposedly causes drought in eastern Asia and Australia and wetter winters in western North America. However since it is now spring, the rain apparently had abated and gave way to a warmer-than-usual weather. The absence of precipitation caused the water levels in the ponds and wetlands to drop significantly.

That was how it was when we visited the two prime birding spots in Orange County: the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary (SJWS) and the Bolsa Chica Wetlands. Thankfully, and despite the low water levels, there were still quite a number of birds in these places.

At the SJWS all three species of teals were represented.

Blue-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
The long-legged waders were up and about.

American Avocet
Black-necked Stilt
There were fewer birds than usual at Bolsa Chica because most of the migrants have returned to their breeding grounds way up north.

The uncommon Reddish Egret was performing its fishing dance.

The long-billed birds were already busy pursuing their morning meals.

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Dowitcher
Marbled Godwit
The Belding's subspecies of the Savannah Sparrow is a sure sighting here.

The absence of the migratory duck species were compensated by these crested swimmers.

Horned Grebe
Red-breasted Merganser
It was spring break, so to speak, in terms of bird migration. That was why there weren't that many birds compared to the colder months of the year. 

All in all, we had a good birding experience, low water level notwithstanding.

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