Sunday, February 19, 2012

Famosa Slough

Female Belted Kingfisher
This past Thursday I walked to the Famosa Slough, a bird refuge not far from my home in San Diego.  I've occasionally visited there to check out the shore birds, but it had been several months.  That afternoon, I was fortunate to spot a colorful bird, Female Belted Kingfisher, pictured above.

Little Blue Heron
On Saturday morning, I went back to see if I could get a better picture.  There was no Belted Kingfisher to be seen.  However, I did find a Little Blue Heron.

I picked up a flyer at the kiosk and found that a walking tour would be held at 1pm.  I usually take pictures and compare pictures on the Internet to identify a bird I don't know.  A walking tour would be so much better since I can show a picture and have an experienced birdwatcher identify it. So, I returned to the Slough at 1pm and joined the tour.  The leader had a scope on a tripod and invited the attendees to view various birds that she identified.  Some birds were regulars, but others just passing through.  Some of the attendees were speaking with the tour leader about San Diego having the most birds in the country.  She agreed, but then added that the expansiveness of San Diego County plays a part since if covers the shoreline all the way to the inland mountains.

The leader pointed out the different species of ducks, as well as the American Avocets and the Black-necked Stilt.  I was familiar with them, but some of the ducks were new to me.  They traveled so fast, I just couldn't get a good picture of them.  I did succeed with a striking black and white duck I had seen on Thursday, but had not been able to get close enough for a good picture.  The tour leader told us it was a Bufflehead,  not a regular at the slough.  The picture I took during the tour is below.


The tour leader also pointed out an American Kestrel and some killdeer.  We looked at them through the scope.  The killdeer is the cutest bird with stripes around its neck and chest making it look like it's wearing a sweater.  I wasn't close enough to get pictures, but I'll work on that.  The walking tour, covering 37 acres, with the opportunity to ask questions, look in the scope, and take pictures, lasted two hours.  The free tour is held monthly by the Friends of Famosa Slough and is definitely worth it thanks to a excellent leader and beautiful birds. 

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