Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Will Rogers State Beach, 30th July

Before the trip I went for an early morning walk, in which I got my first ever "good"-ish looks at a Yellow Warbler (an immature male) who I later learnt was feeding a fledgling. Despite not getting any great shots in the slightest, it certainly raised the mood for a while. When I took a last look around this little patch of trees, I found a Red-shouldered Hawk, sitting a few metres away right in the open at head height. I had no idea how long this bird had been sitting here, but I had been chasing the warbler for at least half an hour, in which it had clearly been patiently being quiet. This proves that size (and colour) does not always make something easy to find. Despite being rather undeterred by my presence, as soon as I pointed the camera its way it flew off in a flash.

A trip to Malibu beach was planned for the day, and conveniently this beach was right near the lagoon, which is considered one of the best birdwatching sites around here. Unfourtunately due to no parking (and my parents' lack of wanting to park by the side of the road) it was not possible and instead we ended up so far away (beyond many perfectly good roadside parking spaces) that we actually crossed the border into the city before there was a "suitable" car park.

This little beach was next to a resturaunt. Interestingly there were two different payments you could choose upon entering; $4 for the restaurant and $15 for the beach. If you chose restaurant then you would have to get out your car and the restaurant people will park it for you.

By the car park I found a Double-crested Cormorant which had caught itself a weird fish that looked a little like a squashed Gurnard.

The beach itself was not packed, but not quiet either. Gulls were examined for any unusual species. Heermann's (red-billed) was by far the most abundant here, even more so then the so-called common Western Gulls. A few unidentified gulls (likely California; keep up with this post for updates) were also located, and there may have been other species but identifying 1cy and 2cy Gulls is not my talent. However a bleached bird flying over was later identified as an "Olympic Gull" (Glaucous-winged x Western i.e. a hybrid which makes gull identifying even more interesting). Brown Pelican were numerous too.

<-2cy Olympic Gull

<-4cy + 3cy Heermann's (left and right respectively)

<-2cy Heermann's on left

<- 2cy Western Gull

During the stay I managed to locate a single Pelagic Cormorant flying offshore and a party of about 25+ Whimbrel. Even more unusual was a flock of Mallard a fair distance from land! What I previously thought was a Royal Tern, turned out to be an Elegant Tern (The bill length seemed too long, which caused me to research further; then I found the underwing pattern differences which nailed the I.D.).

<-2cy Heermann's

<- Whimbrel...or is it Whimbrels?

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