Friday, August 5, 2011

Oak Canyon Community Park, 3rd August

Today was to coincide with a park noted for a "trail" into the hills.

The first shots were of a closeish Black Phoebe. The difference between this bird and the ones back home was that this one was actually in the sun.

Lorquin's Admiral was remarkably abundant at this location with some even resting. A small orange butterfly, what I believe is a Sleepy Orange (not sure if they occur in California) passed by as well but did not rest.

I also found a yellow variety House Finch, which is my first of this colouration. It's a little hard to see in the photo, but this bird has yellow on the face and breast as opposed to the "typical" red.

Down a little slope to the left was a shady stream where after walking over the bridge you entered the "Desert region" as my mother called it. Apparently because rattlesnakes are "KOS", I did not have permission to go this far, but that didn't hinder me too much (not that I went there anyway). At this point I just about caught sight of a large greyish bird disappear behind a tree. The flight was very lapwing like, or at least one of those waterbird types. I checked past the tree but could not find it. Then when I walked back I found a Green Heron on a lampost, which was clearly my bird. I was taking shots at a distance so I didn't scare it, but that soon changed when a jogger ran under the lampost without the bird even reacting in the slightest.

When it eventually flew off into a tree, I encountered a new form of chromatic abberation; one that was orange. It disappeared into the canopy and then it came back out with four others. It seems there was a whole little community here just above the little stream nearby.

Around the stream I found a Duskywing feeding on some white flowers here. I have no idea what Duskywing it is, and considering how much trouble I had with only 2 local species in Canada, I expect down in this more tropical region it is almost impossible to distinguish them. I would assume that the majority of the people who saw this would pass it off as a moth, and I couldn't blame them.

I took a peek in the "Desert region" and saw a hawk soaring well off in the distance, which I believe was a Red-shouldered, but it was hard to tell. I decided to walk up to the dog park here and found, under a bush, a community of California Quails hiding here. As soon as they saw me they were off. I heard and saw a bird perched on the fence of the dog park, and it was another California Quail, a male. It was surprisingly tame. I got within two metres and it then promptly flushed into the bush. While the best shot was virtually perfect (apart from unavoidable chromatic abberation), I would have wished for a better background and maybe a more natural setting.

Upon leaving this area I found a Red-shouldered Hawk flying overhead, probably the bird from before.

I saw a Scrub-jay in its metallic blue apparrel flit through the undergrowth, but it seemed that it was a casual visitor as it did not appear to land anywhee close.
To finish the day off, I noticed a very bright Lorquin's Admiral, which I could tell as it flew by was actually a California Sister; something I was looking out for. Unfourtunately it did not land, leaving me with a blurred, distant flight shot.

2 new birds and the scenery left me with a sense of hope for this location. By the looks of the region, I should (with some luck) be able to find Canyon Wren, Rock Wren, California Thrasher, Costa's Hummer and maybe Golden Eagle in the coming visits.

Let's hope that the weather stays sunny.

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