Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I have to go birding! It has been more than two weeks that I haven't done so. Domestic matters precluded me from pursuing my hobby for the past fortnight. So now I must bird. I must satisfy the growing need to go out once again under the hot summer sun and feast my eyes and point my camera on the feathered creatures that I hope to encounter.

My destination of choice was Peck Road Water Conservation Park, better known to birders as Peck Pit. Based on recent birding news, I purposely set my expectations to low. This has not been a very good year for birds here in California where even the regular summer visitors were quite sparse. Scanning the lake, I only saw a couple of cormorants, a few gulls and some mallards. The picnic area was devoid of birds except for a murder of crows and a flock of domestic rock doves.

Moving closer to the edge of the lake, I saw a single Western Gull feasting on a dead catfish.

Suddenly, a Green heron flew by and landed on dead tree branch.

A pair of skittish Cooper's Hawks did not stay long enough for a photograph and simply vanished as I approached.

At any given park or birding place in Southern California, the birds most likely to be seen are Mourning Doves,

Northern Mockingbirds

and Black Phoebes.

And so I was a bit surprsised when I saw some Band-tailed Pigeons perched on the telephone wires. These large birds normally inhabit higher elevation forests and to find them at this low altitude was unusual.

Another unexpected sighting was a Lincoln's Sparrow which is a very secretive and somewhat nondescript brown bird.

After about an hour, my birding spirit has been appeased but my gastronomical need was starting to make itself noticeable. It was only proper that I now return home.

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