Friday, February 1, 2008


Yellow-chevroned Parakeet - UCLA - Feeding on seed pulled from pods on Floss Silk Tree

Common Ravens - UCLA - This is the mated pair that has been claiming territory between Moore Hall and Royce Hall for the past two months.

Anna's Hummingbird - UCLA - Sitting in Floss Silk Tree. It was pulling out fluff for a nest from the seed pods that the parakeets had opened.

Bewick's Wren - UCLA - Near shrubs in the Shapiro Courtyard of the Law School. There were a pair of them, and I saw one pulling bark fibers off the Coast Redwood Trees, no doubt for nest building.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (female) - Del Rey Lagoon - Sitting in Coral Tree. There were a few of these flitting around in the trees andit really surprised me to find them so close to the ocean.

Common Goldeneye - Del Rey Lagoon - There were several pairs of these ducks in the lagoon.

Greater White-fronted Goose - Del Rey Lagoon - There were seven of these rowdy geese, who have apparantly claimed the area as theirs! I had never seen these kinds of geese before--and they are HUGE birds! Not too friendly either.

Canada Goose - Del Rey Lagoon - There were four of these.

Willet - Del Rey Lagoon - This little guy was cruising along the shore near the geese--brave little fellow!

Belted Kingfisher - Del Rey Lagoon - I love these birds! This one had a nice vantage point on top of a pole at the far end of the lagoon overlooking the water.

This year I’ve decided to devote more time into my bird watching. With my friend Paula I will be exploring the many parks, beaches, and mountain areas that are within reasonable driving distance in and around Los Angeles. When I started this blog it was my intent to introduce people to how easy it is to find nature close to home and one of the ways I hope to do that is by doing some of the ‘recon’ myself.

Of course there’s no better place to start than one’s own backyard or neighborhood. Anywhere there are trees and bushes there will be birds—and often other wildlife. The key is to open one’s self up and let all your ‘real world’ stresses go. Tune into the sights, sounds, and smells around you; fine tune the senses you were blessed with! I often wonder how many people actually think about how the air smells and feels, or if they are aware of birdsong. It’s there all around if one takes the time to listen.

My immediate neighborhood has a real lack of suitable tree habitat for songbirds; there is a small stand of eucalyptus across the street but it’s a very seasonable spot. There are two tall Queen Palms in the parkway and a huge Twisted Chinese Juniper on the north side of the front of the house. But neither one seems to attract many birds. I do get some action at a Hummingbird feeder that I hang in the Juniper, but I’ve not had any luck with a seed feeder hung there. I even put a bird bath in one of the planters, but I’ve only ever seen a squirrel drinking out of it.

But I can walk just about anywhere else in the blocks around me and see all kinds of birds in the ficus, liquid amber, and elm trees. And I am also lucky to work at UCLA, which has many different kinds of trees and shrubs that attract various species of birds. The beach and the Ballona Wetlands are also close by, as well as several large tree-covered parks. So you see, if one just explores a bit, it’s easy to find a little piece of “Urban Wild!”

Last week I decided to try shooting some film in my Nikon N90S—it was a top-shelf model just a few years ago, now made a dinosaur by the proliferation of digital cameras. But I invested a good chunk of change on that camera and two good Nikon lenses (28-50mm & 80-300mm), so I just hate to see that equipment go unused. I have a late model Nikon Coolpix, but it’s capability for photographing birds isn’t great.

I went down to the Del Rey Lagoon last Saturday and Sunday and was treated to a riot of waterbirds. Then this past week I took the camera to work and took photos of some of my feathered pals around campus—the ‘usual suspects’ that I see on a regular basis. The pictures above are what I have so far. More on the way!
--No go get out and watch some birds!
[Composed while listening to Green Isac "Etnotronica" and "Groundrush"--a fine electronic band from Denmark--check them out at iTunes!]

1 comment:

Janson said...

Hey, I knew a couple of these birds! I'm particularly fond of the belted kingfishers. Fantastic little buggers, they are! Ravens are still new to me. We didn't have them in Florida, but they're quite common up here in Alaska. Like Florida's crows, kind of nasty from a distance, but rather lovely when you get a good, solid look at them.

Definitely planning on more bird-watching duty this year. I've got an entire new region of species to learn! Viva!