Sunday, June 7, 2009

A LATE AFTERNOON ADVENTURE

Santa Monica Mountains view
Wester Fence Lizard
Acorn Woodpecker
Barn Swallow
Cottontail Rabbit
Cottontail-detail
Sycamore Canyon Beach-late afternoon


Western Kingbird
Near-full Moon coming up over Pt. Dume


Late yesterday afternoon I decided to go on a chase to find two rare birds that had been reported. It was after 3 pm, but it had been a lovely day so I suspected that a drive up the coast would be lovely (and I supposed right!).

Off PCH I turned onto a road that went through a residential area that ended on a dirt road. This turned out to be a wonderful bit of parkland with fantastic birding. There was a meadow area bordered by a riparian area (dry streambed) composed of massive sycamore trees and willows. And these trees were loaded with birds:
Bullock's Oriole
Black-headed Grosbeak
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Acorn Woodpecker
Western Kingbird
House Wren
Bushtit
Oak Titmouse
Scrub Jay
Pacific-slope Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
House Finch
Mourning Dove

It the meadow and soaring over it were:
Barn Swallow
Northern Rough-wing Swallow
Spotted Towhee
Wrentit

And soaring higher were:
Red-tailed Hawk
Turkey Vulture
California Towhee

I never found the target birds (Northern Parula and Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but finding this spot was definitely worth the drive. It was blissfully devoid of people. On the drive out there was a Cottontail Rabbit just sitting along the road. I made sure it wasn't injured and took some photos before it scampered off. I think it was just enjoying the last bit of afternoon sun on an apparently quiet road.

I spent about 1 1/2 hours birding there, then headed north again. Stopped at Sycamore Canyon Beach and was surprised to find a Hooded Oriole with a fledge in one tree and a Western Kingbird in another--two birds that I didn't expect to find along the shore, buy Sycamore Canyon is right across the road and I suspect is where they spend most of their time. Also observed a few dolphins cruising south just out past the breaking surf.

Driving back the near-full Moon was rising over Pt. Dume--a lovely sight. Got home at about 8.45 pm and felt well satisfied about a great spontaneous trip. Sometimes impulse really pays dividends.