Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Bird Observations

Female Western Bluebird
Last week, I was walking near Tourmaline St in La Jolla, CA, a coastal community north of San Diego, and spotted the following bird on the lawn.  At first glance, I thought it was a Robin, a bird that can be found throughout the United States, but one that I've never seen on the West Coast.  Then, I saw a blue glint on it's head.  As I came closer to get a better picture, it flew away. When I researched my photo later and verified with a bird expert, it turned out to be a Female Western Bluebird.  A few years ago in Balboa Park in San Diego, I spotted a beautiful, bright blue bird (probably a Male Bluebird), but as I pulled out my camera, it flew away.  I've become more alert and almost always have my camera out and ready, although I'm convinced that as soon as the bird is aware of my silver camera they take off.

House finch

 Yesterday, I spotted a house finch at the Slough.

 Today, I walked the hills of Ocean Beach.  The weather was overcast and the birds must have been hunkering down since it was also cold.    On the way back, I stopped in at the Slough.  There I saw a man and a small child feeding two Mallards some bread on the Famosa Boulevard side.   As I walked toward them, they left.  The man and child then went around to the front entrance to the Slough.  Believe it or not, the ducks swam across the water to where these people were and followed them on the path.  That was amazing to me.  The ducks didn't come to me. as I had come around to the front and was just several feet from these people.  Did the Mallards recognize their feeders?                                                                                

Along came another man with a school bag.  He put his hand in the bag, dropped something for the ducks,and proceeded on.  The birds ate some of it and there was a piece between them.  Just then a small gull with black wings just swooped down and picked up the whole piece of bread.   One of the Mallards quacked and turned his head towards the airborne gull with the bread.  It sounded just like he voiced, "Wa-a-." (Like "what just happened here?")  That gull certainly was very deft in his actions.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrow

Then, four White-crowned Sparrows hopped out of the bushes and pecked around for breadcrumbs.  This gave me an opportunity to get a close-up of them, since they usually hide within the brush.

Clapper Rail
While all this was going on, a Clapper Rail was intent on his own fishing in the water.

While I certainly don't know much about birds, I'm sometimes taken aback to view their almost human-like actions.

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