Monday, October 01, 2007

Signs of the Tams

My short hiatus from birding was over! I finally announced to my bosses at work that I am accepting the "voluntary severance program". Officially, I will be out of work by Oct. 16. Inasmuch as that onus was now out of my system, I can focus (pun intended) on the activities that are near and dear to my heart: birding and bird photography!

It had been established as some sort of tradition (by quite a few birders, I presume) to visit the tamarisk trees lining Laguna Road in Camarillo (commonly referred to as Laguna Tams) during fall migration. Despite its small area - about 50 trees along the road, it has been known to harbor vast quantities and quite a diversity in species of warblers. A rarity or two had been known to visit these pine-like trees from time-to-time.

So that was our destination Saturday morning. Sure enough, as soon as we got there, warblers of various kinds were popping in and out of the needle-like leaves. There were Townsends, tons of Wilsons, Black-throated Grays, and Orange-crowned (including the gray-headed subspecies). Warbling Vireos were also represented in great numbers. We didn't see the Blackburnian Warbler that was reported a week ago though.

For me and my wife, deprived of good birding photo ops for a forthnight, experiencing this bonanza was a thrill touched with a little frustration. The birds, of course, were constantly in motion, oftentimes in the darker parts of the trees making photography a little difficult. Sometimes, they would be too close for our big lenses to focus on! Then again, stalking flitting warblers and at the same time keeping a wary eye on oncoming vehicles hurtling at 70 mph a few inches from where we were was an exercise in sheer, heart-pounding adventure.

Noonish, bird activity quieted down somewhat. Reluctantly we left the Tams and had lunch at Wendy's - that was after obliging to my wife's wishes to shop at nearby Target (for household items she assured me).

After lunch we decided to go to Ballona Creek to try for the Buff-breasted Sandpiper reported seen the day before. We dipped on that, but still had a great time shooting Surfbirds, both species of Turnstones and a few peeps.

At the end of the day, Cynthia and I were both happy at the results of our return-to-birding jaunt. Portent of days to come? We hope so.

1 comment: said...

Lovely post, cheers to many future birding days!