Friday, February 23, 2018

Something's Strange in the Neighborhood

We are currently staying in my son's apartment in Glendale, California. Wednesday afternoon, we decided to bird around the neighborhood. Expecting to see the usual suspects, we were quite surprised to encounter some species we never expected to be in this sort of urban environment.

But first allow me to show the "regulars". A Black Phoebe has made this place its home. We've seen this bird for the past several years here.

It seemed that the Mourning Doves had multiplied a lot. They're practically everywhere - lots of them!

Another common species here were the House Finches, although this time they stayed at the higher places.

As expected, California Towhees were foraging on the ground, unmindful of the people passing by.

The Northern Mockingbirds were, as always, displaying their audacious attitudes.

A pair of Acorn Woodpeckers were up a palm tree looking for food. I got a photo of one.

Then there were the unexpected. After taking some shots at the mockingbird, I noticed something strange. Softly, I told my wife, "Turn around slowly, there's a Junco behind you". We've seen Dark-eyed Juncos the day before in Bonelli Park. Lots of them. And that's where they can be easily found, not on a sidewalk, along an apartment complex.

Perched alongside a Mourning Dove, was a Band-tailed Pigeon! Again, this species prefer the trees in parks, not electric wires.

While trying to aim at another Mockingbird singing from a tree top, Cynthia saw something green. I looked at where she was pointing and surprise of all surprises - a Yellow-chevroned Parakeet! It didn't stay long though and I was lucky enough to get a couple of shots. We've seen this tropical species before (a feral population thrives in the greater Los Angeles area) in Arcadia and El Monte. Never in Glendale. Until now.

A big bird on a tree top, about a block away, was another unexpected encounter. A Red-tailed Hawk was surveying its surroundings, perhaps looking for an unwary prey. Sometime later it even flew and landed on the top of a pine tree right next to us. Unfortunately, it was so high up that pine needles prevented us from getting a full view.

What was also strange, sort of in a negative way, was the scarcity of House Sparrows. This species was the "trash bird" of urban areas. However, we only saw two, both immature.

It was a productive birding experience for us, considering the type of environment we're in. Thanks to the "strange" appearance of some uncommon birds.

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