I hadn't been out much recently after the farm escapade. There was a field trip to Oxnard Plain last saturday for Red-throated Pipits and vagrant stuff but it wasn't that successful from what I heard other than a pair of Golden-crowned Kinglets.
Now that fall migration was certainly coming to an end, I started setting targets for winter. I still needed birds like Sharp-shinned Hawk, Blue-grey Gnatcatcher and Ferruginous Hawk.
I managed to tick one of those off yesterday. When walking to school I noticed the crows were going after something and I saw a remarkably small Accipter sp. Without a doubt this had to be that Sharp-shinned Hawk I had long awaited. Its behaviour was quite different to the Cooper's I usually see too, typically the Cooper's are stubborn and don't like leaving the tree they are in but this Sharpie was well off before the crows even got anywhere close. Sharp-shinned are migrants through this area so it made sense that it would not stay for long.
My local crows are very territorial for some reason. I've seen them harass Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, White-tailed Kite, Cooper's and now Sharp-shinned Hawks in our area now. At least I can count on them, I don't even have to look for birds of prey most of the time because the crows find them for me!
On another note, I had something even more remarkable this morning. I heard some very high-pitched whistly notes in the pine trees along Argos. They were quite silent, and I didn't really pay much attention the first time I heard it. The second time I thought I would check things out. A bird name already clicked into my head, but since I had never seen that bird I don't know how I could jump to that conclusion (though I was aware the species did make high-pitched twittering calls, but perhaps it was the Goldcrests I grew up with in England that drew me to that answer). I tracked the source of the call and simply found an Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler and it was kind of deflating. Yellow-rumps have already foiled me many times (it already had happened once today), and a Common Yellowthroat (well away from water source may I point out) already tried to convince me it was a Macgillivray's.
However there was another little fluffball in the back branches of the tree that caught my eye; now that was a better match of the description I was seeking. It took some effort but it finally yielded a view of the head which showed the dark supercilium and contrasting white lores. It was nothing like the perfect picture in the field guide, but I was into this enough to recognize it without its golden crown. Yes, Golden-crowned Kinglet, did you get it?
While this was incredible in itself, I found it a step up purely because that it just happened that this was the only (life) bird that was on the field trip I was seeking admission into (but missed out on). It isn't the first time something like this has happened. Out of hundreds of possible rare birds it happened to be this one. What a curious scenario....