Thursday, December 2, 2010

BIRDING ALONG THE L.A. RIVER

My birding partner, Paula Raissner, and I birded a section of the L.A. River this past Sunday. We only covered about a quarter mile stretch, but it was pretty 'birdy.' The real treat was finding some Nutmeg Mannikins, a species native to Southeast Asia and India. Like often happens, some birds meant for the caged trade got loose years ago and now their are flocks in the wild. They are pretty little birds, around sparrow-sized. Their backs and wings are a rich brown color (like nutmeg) and the chest is white with black scalloped lines (that reminds me of chain mail). The birds are sometimes called Spice Mannikins.

Also seen were abundant numbers of Black-necked Stilt, American Widgeon, and of all things, Yellow-rumped Warblers. A few pairs of Hooded Mergansers were seen, as well as Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, an immature Black-crowned Night Heron; also the ubiquitous Mallard, American Coot, and Brewer's Blackbird.

The Yellow-rumps were flycatching on the swarms of midges that hovered in the air, as were a few Black Phoebe. One Yellow Warbler was spotted foraging in the reeds in the river area. A pair of Common Raven and a Red-tailed Hawk were spied soaring overhead.

In nearby Bette Davis Park, which was our access point, there were 4 Acorn Woodpeckers guarding a large granary in a sycamore tree.

Hooded Merganser (male & female)
Black-necked Stilt
Nutmeg Mannikin (juvenile-lacks the chest embellishment)
Nutmeg Mannikin (adult)
Nutmeg Mannikin (adult)

Later in the day we went to Lake Balboa to look for some reported Common Loon, but the only loons were the crowds of people. We did see a Ross's Goose, however, a life bird for both of us.

1 comment:

Tabor said...

I must say that the mannikin really captures me. Have not seen anything like that here. The name nutmeg is perfect for this season.