Friday, November 8, 2013

Marina/Playa del Rey revisited on 3rd

Marina del Rey is one of the most reliable sites I have ever visited. The site is composed of Playa del Rey, Ballona Channel, and Marina del Rey itself. Starting from the sea, two separate estuaries split into the marina on the north side, and Ballona Creek on the south. Playa del Rey forms the southern side of Ballona Creek, and is linked up to the beach and wetland areas.

On the sea end, this location is made of breakwaters and rocky shores. For whatever reason what is usually a vagrant to California waters has become rather abundant this autumn. That bird is the blue-footed booby, one of the gannet's tropical relatives. Typically the birds are further south beyond the North American border, and these irruptions only happen every so often so naturally I felt like trying to see one while they were not in the "only-one-in-California-per-year-if-you're-lucky" routine. At least 7 birds were present on Marina del Rey's breakwater a month ago; Los Angeles is lucky to see them annually at all.

I immediately found about 20 surfbirds on the middle jetty, a long-wanted bird of mine. Accompanied by a duo of ruddy turnstones, a single black turnstone, a dunlin and a least sandpiper, the breakwater was quite a bustling place. As for the blue-footed boobies, I eventually picked out two but it was not an easy task. These "dark blobs" sat among countless over cormorant and pelican blobs and the closest range permitted by land was within the 300 meter range.

Surfbird.
Blue-footed booby. If you were hoping to see the blue feet you would be better to try google images or consult
a field guide...

An added bonus was this belted kingfisher. Another common bird that has taken me far too long to bump into:

Belted kingfisher.

The fourth (optional) target, cinnamon teal, did not feel like making an appearance.