Thursday, May 3, 2012

Migrating Birds

Today started off with the usual "May Gray" (overcast skies).  I've been waiting for blue skies to take some pictures.  By 1:00pm, the skies started clearing and we ended up with a "partly cloudy" day.   Our mornings have been cool, warming up when and if the sun pops through the clouds, and then, quickly cooling off again by late afternoon.  So, today I ventured out to the Formosa Slough to see if I could find some migrating birds.  Up until now I hadn't seen any so I thought I was missing the opportunity to spot any of these birds.  Even the local hummingbirds are no where to be seen.

While there weren't many birds, I did get some pictures.  I'm a real "newbie" so I have to research each bird I find.  When I compared my pictures to ones on the Internet, I discovered that I had found some birds migrating to more northern areas.  Great!

There were two Northern Shovelers.    
The Male has the dark head.  The picture to the right shows him exhibiting his plumage, perhaps in a courtship mode.  

The Famosa Slough is divided into two sections separated by West Point Loma Boulevard in Point Loma in San Diego, CA.  When I visit the slough, I usually check out the northern section to see what birds I can find.  Today, I spotted a Great Blue Heron. 

When I crossed the Boulevard to the southern section, I found a seemingly older Heron.
  As time went on, he simply looked like a tired elderly statesman.
I've never seen a Great Blue Heron so relaxed.  

Then I spotted what I thought was a duck.  I detected an unusual bill, like that of a goose.  The closest goose I could find on the Internet was a Greater White-fronted Goose.  But, I'd appreciate a Birders identification.

Finally, the last bird I found was a Common Tern, white with a small black cap.  The male and female are similar in appearance, though the male has a larger bill than the female.  It soared around and then, without warning, just plopped into the water. got his prey and was off in a flash.  It landed just like a person doing a belly flop when diving.  The picture of the plop area shows just how fast it was.

This is a fun hobby.  You might want to look into it, if you have the time.

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