Cynthia will be working half-day on Christmas Eve. I thought I'd try for the Bald Eagle at Bonelli yet one more time before I pick my wife up. Despite arriving there quite early - around 8:30 am - the eagle decided to spend the holidays elsewhere depriving me and my friend Chris Akiyoshi (whom I met there) of what could have been a great Christmas present.
Not counting the disappointment of dipping on the eagle, Bonelli still had some goodies to offer. The Painted Redstart as always, was a thrill to watch. Its symbiotic partner, the Red-breasted Sapsucker was there, too, of course. The tree that these two species occupy was also visited by a female Nuttall's Woodpecker. While helping Chris locate the Brown Creeper that I saw on the 15th, we got a surprise when a White-breasted Nuthatch showed up instead.
Early on, during my eagle vigil, I spent close to two hours just looking at the regular avian denizens of the lake. When you spend that much time watching them, the "ordinary" birds became interesting either by chance or by their behavior. Examples were the "three-billed" Gadwall and the fighting Coots.
Soon it was time to go. Chris and I exchanged Christmas wishes and better luck in future birding endeavors, particularly for a certain Bald Eagle who reportedly visits Bonelli regularly.