Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Will Rogers State Beach, 30th July
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.
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.).