Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More Birds

First, I have to make a correction to my last post, I noted that ".... a Clapper Rail was intent on his own fishing in the water."  The correct name for this bird is "Marbled Godwit."  I find these birds confusing.  Of course, the more I learn to recognize these birds the better for my credibility.  I really do appreciate birding friends who help me out with the correct names.
In my quest to get photographs of different birds, I been visiting the Slough often to see what I could find.   Since they fly away just when I spot them, it is sometimes quite a challenge to photograph them, especially when they are perched in full leafy trees.  As the weather gets warmer, any migratory birds will be on their way.

On March 10th, I spotted the following bird,which might be a Cassin's Vireo because of the eye-ring and yellow flanking.


As I walked deeper into the property on the trail that ran along Famosa Blvd, I saw something yellow in the back of the property.  Then, I noticed people walking there.  I had not known that the area was open to the public.  So, I walked up the hill on Famosa Blvd, turned left and re-entered the property at Mentone Street.

Common Yellowthroat
I asked a couple leaving the property if they had seen anything interesting.  I realize that the answer could be quite subjective.  The man responded that they had seen some "yellow rumps."   As I walked around, I spotted a yellow bird, which turned out to be a Common Yellowthroat. 

The path loops around the property.  As I walked further around the loop I spotted this big blueish bird.  It turned out to be a Western Scrub-Jay.  I was so excited since I loved taking photos of the Blue Jay in New York, so I was happy to get a photo of this bird. I've since learned that the Western Scrub-Jay is regularly seen in the Slough. 
Western Scrub-Jay

On March 11, I found a Summer Tanager Immature Male (shown below).  A mature male will be red in color.  You can see the splotches of red on this bird.   As I was leaving the property, I spotted a Killdeer on the bank of the water near the West Point Loma Blvd entrance to the Slough.  I think that the bird is so cute.  The stripes on its breast looks like a turtle-necked sweater.
Summer Tanager Immature Male

 After spending four days in the house because of feeling "under the weather", it was good to get out.  On March 16, I joined the bird watching tour given at the Famosa Slough.  At one point, as the tour leader pointed out different shore birds, I spotted a hummingbird sitting on a branch just over my head.  As I was looking up, the leader saw something and said, "Was that a Golden-Crowned Sparrow?".  No one responded.  I hadn't seen it since I was so preoccupied with the hummingbird over my head.  I was intrigued as to why it didn't fly away with approximately nine people standing right there underneath it.  Usually, they flit before I can get a picture.  There are so many kinds of hummingbirds, I admit I'm intimidated when it comes to assigning a specific name to the picture below.


 After a while, I left the group and went to the back of the property where I could see other kinds of birds, possibly migratory ones.   For a few days, I heard a familiar bird call.  I would try to ascertain the source, but wasn't succeeding.  That day, however, I saw it.  I got a photo of the Song Bird as it was singing.

Song Sparrow
Golden-Crowned Sparrow

 The next day, I went back to see what I could find.  I thought I saw a bird with a gold spot on its head.  I remembered that the tour leader had spoken about it the day before.  I wondered if the bird I saw flit into the tree was truly a Golden-Crowned Sparrow.  A young couple I had seen earlier came along with their scope.  I told them that I saw this bird.  They were very knowledgeable and could tell me the bird calls that they were hearing.  The woman advised me that the Golden-Crowned Sparrow had a very sad call like "I'm so tired."  She started doing a visual search and spotted it.  Then the man pulled out his bird book, found it and asked the woman if that was what she saw.  She answered in the affirmative.  Then, he showed me.  I said, "Yes."  As the Sparrow flew to another tree, she spotted again and showed me.  I took multiple pictures but the Golden spot on his head was hidden each time.  The photo above to the right shows just a sliver of gold on his head.  Anytime it looked my way as he was nibbling on something green, it would block my view of its head.  Since this bird only winters here in San Diego, I will continue to watch for this bird as often as I'm able.  Spring is here.

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