Sunday, October 7, 2012

Only two stars in the summer sky.

Yes, my summer hasn't been especially vivid even though there is so much left to see in California. And one of those 2 is a very scarce bird around here.

Both of these were from Paramount Ranch, one of my best locations in terms of productivity (and its only a 10 minute drive from me!).

The first is Vaux's Swift, California's second common swift. I have seen White-throated about 3 or 4 times now so this was deserved. In terms of abundance I would that if you saw a swift there is a 50/50 chance of Vaux or White-throated. These birds below were in a flock of about 6 flying high up over the Medicine Woman trail. It takes a sharp eye to see these pin-pricks in the sky, but idealistically now I've seen them both I will never have to search for them again!

The second is a rather rare bird in the area but fairly common overall in Norther America. Most birders would be able to guess this bird from what I say next. It had a bold white eyering, a fairly delicate "necklace" of dark streaks on its breast and a long tail that was white underneath. I never got to see the chestnut scapulars/lesser coverts and overall the views I got were not great.  It's funny how that even though there are 20 dull brown sparrows, they are all uniquely marked and coloured. In California it is an occasional up in the high desert but in these parts it is a scarce fall migrant.

Here is all I got of the Vesper Sparrow before it disappeared:

Now I've got those two out of the way here are some other local photos.

San Bernadino Blue, very similar to Acmon Blue.

My best shot so far of a Northern Flicker ssp. cafer. It was a flyover but it is far better than what I have already. The orange-red feathers are very clear in this picture as are the strangely-shaped tail feathers.

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