Friday, October 7, 2011

Local species from Chumash Park

A few interesting things have turned up recently.


For starters I had seen a Say's Phoebe one day at Chumash Park on the way to school. For the past week I had seen a brownish slightly-smaller-than-kingbird sized flycatcher with a completely black tail that on oneday was side-by-side with a Cassin's Kingbird. I thought it might have been a juvenile Kingbird, but the lack of white edging on the tail was bothering me. Around the 22nd September, once I had my camera on me I was easily able to pick out the details. If you've been reading through the whole blog you will know this is the bird I was looking for at Sherwood Lake a while back, and ended up finding at Rancho Sierra Vista. However this bird was far more obliging, and was last seen a few days ago.

Next having turned up early to school, I checked out the back which happened to back onto a chapparal canyon which I (hoped) thought would host some interesting birds this early into the day. I was rewarded with a flock of juvenile White-crowned Sparrows (the first of the fall) and a single Brewer's Sparrow amongst them. I have no idea how common Brewer's is, but it is also mentioned on the local bird hotline (as opposed to not mentioned like the locally common birds).
Photos: juvenile White-crowned left, Brewer's on right and center images. The layout of these images was better, but I've spent the past thirty minutes trying to get this website to accept it, and instead it would shoot the images back up to the top, so I give up.

On the 27th September I came across a medium-sized, brown bird, also Chumash Park wading in a puddle at around 3:00pm. I was surprised to see on further inspection that it was a Western Meadowlark. I was not that surprised to see this grassland bird, as looking at other reports they frequently turn up at school fields and baseball fields, this park being far more natural than all of the above. Either way it there is no way it could be a common appearance here (but likely a regular one). I saw it fly into a tree which surprised me as it was like a duck landing a tree. Or maybe I'm mistaken; I don't know a lot about these birds, but I assume a grass stalker is not much of a percher, which is true for virtually all prairie species. But I suppose considering they are migratory, they have to get to point A from point B, and there are a fair amount of trees along the way, so they have to be adaptable. The bird to its right  in the first two images is a Northern Mockingbird.

Earlier on in the day there was some very interesting lighting in the park. Unfortunately I only had my zoom lens but still managed to get some nice pictures.

Later I will post some new warblers (and my long-standing rival the Olive-sided Flycatcher) and the differences between Crows and Ravens.