Friday, January 16, 2009

"Round up the Usual Suspects" *

For 2009 I decided to also keep a year list - a compilation of all the species I have seen throughout the year. The reason for this is that this could possibly my last full year's birding in the U.S. If plans go through, we will be residing in the Philippines for good beginning early 2010.

This past week I visited my local haunts just so I could begin my compilation with the usual suspects - the common birds found here at the San Gabriel Valley where I reside.

At Eaton Canyon in Pasadena the California Thrashers were surprisingly quite friendly - foraging for food just a few feet away from me.

I also got a photo documentation of a Wrentit taking a bath.

The shy and uncommon Purple Finch nicely padded up my year list.

A few days later I was at Legg Lake where the land birds were uncharacteristically sparse. No Robins nor Bluebirds nor Flickers. Even the normally ubiquituous Yellow-rumped Warblers were only represented by a few individuals. 

Fortunately, the waterbird population were quite diverse and plentiful. The Canvasbacks and Ring-necked Ducks were still at the third lake. American White Pelicans, Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets contrasted their white plumages with the black Double-crested Cormorants as they all huddled together basking in the early morning sun. A pleasant surprise was a Green Heron perched atop a green barrel.

A single Ross's Goose mingled among the hundreds of domestic Graylags. Three species of blackbirds - Brewer's, Red-winged and Great-tailed Grackles competed for the tasty morsels on the ground.

As of the 15th of January, my tally shows 94 species seen so far (including 5 lifers!). It looks like it's going to be a good year.

* Casablanca, 1942

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