Monday, June 25, 2007

Wild Goose Chase?

Ross' Goose

Egyptian Goose

Canada Goose

My one weekend hiatus from birding made me sick - literally. I battled the flu while still reporting for work, dedicated employee that I am, until finally, I had to rest on Thursday, June 21st. I felt a little better Friday, reported back to work, and then Saturday, I was rarin' to pursue my hobby again.

It has been quite some time since we've been to Prado Dam in Chino. If you want to see the colorful Vermillion Flycatcher in the greater Los Angeles area, this is the place to go. I wanted to see it and so we went. We found the bird almost immediately, its brilliant red color resplendent against the verdant foliage. It's larger, albeit less colorful cousin, the Western Kingbird was at a nearby tree, belligerently guarding its nest. The blackbird family was well represented: Starlings were everywhere!; Brewer's Blackbirds were mingling with them looking for anything edible on the ground. Down by the lakeshore, Red-winged Blackbirds were trying to outsing the more vocal Great-tailed Grackles.

The trail along the lake was peppered by various species that were either starting or already raising a family. Common Yellowthroats were bursting with song, while Song Sparrows were bringing tasty morsels to their young. Overhead, Barn Swallows were feeding their full-grown offsprings while on the wing!

Summer migrants like the Blue Grosbeak offered a quick glimpse. I was thrilled to see not one, but at least three, Yellow Warblers! On the way back, a Common Moorhen swam slowly by. A juvenile Bullock's Orioles feeling the heat of the day, drank from a small puddle only a few feet away from us.

And then there were the geese. There were lots of the domesticated geese that you will find at any park that has a body of water in it. Joining them were several Canada Geese. We also saw four Egyptian Geese, which were quite uncommon anywhere. A single Ross's Goose who probably thought that the flight to Alaska was too tiring decided to stick around and hang out with the locals.

A funny thought came to mind involving these lovely wild geese: You see Canada Geese so you must be in Canada. You see Egyptian Geese so you must be in Egypt. Then you see a Ross's Goose and therefore you must be in...

Ross Department Store!

As far as my wife is concerned, that is the happiest place on earth. Perhaps it was the sight of the straggler goose that made Cynthia insist that we visit her favorite place to shop. There's one at the Chino Hills Shopping Center, she reminded me. I, of course, obliged. She was so ecstatic that she later volunteered to pay for our lunch. And this was no fast food, cheap restaurant either. We went to a seafood buffet place.

I felt like stuffed goose as we drove home.

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