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Visiting Birders from Australia

I took visiting birders, Mark and Kay Clayton, to some of the local hot spots near their hotel at LAX. This was their first time visiting the Americas so they were excited to go just about anywhere. We started off at Del Rey Lagoon and Ballona Creek where they tallied over 25 new birds including Green Heron, Black Turnstone, California Gull, Western Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Western Sandpiper, Willet, Whimbrel, Ruddy Duck, Savannah Sparrow, Great Egret, Snowy Egret and much more. Unfortunately we never saw the Little Blue Heron that has been hanging around Del Rey Lagoon this summer.

Green Heron
Green Heron

Since we were still missing a few key target shorebird specialties we hit Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach first thing Saturday morning. We immediately ticked off Least Tern, Black Skimmer, Forster’s Tern, Long-billed Curlew, Light-footed Clapper Rail and Osprey.

Light-footed Clapper Rail
Light-footed Clapper Rail

Least Terns were in great quantity with adults still feeding the almost fully grown fledglings. I was actually surprised to see adults feeding young birds that had almost lost all juvenal plumage.

Least Tern
Least Tern

Least Tern
Least Tern

After Bolsa Chica we hit the LA River in Long Beach to look for migrating sandpipers. Bumped into Steve and Becky Turley upon our arrival who informed us of a Solitary Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper along with Chimney Swifts they had seen. It didn’t take long to spot two Chimney Swifts flying over us among all the Cliff Swallows and White-throated Swifts. Also scored a nice immature Cooper’s Hawk chasing a Green Heron around. A few minutes later I found the Solitary Sandpiper just below us on the east side of the river. Other new birds for the Aussie’s included Black-necked Stilt, Canada Goose, American Avocet, Hooded Oriole, Short-billed Dowitcher and Killdeer.

Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Curlew

After a great morning we ended our day at Ken Malloy Harbor Park. Things were a little slow but Ken ticked his 2,000th bird – unfortunately it was a Brewer’s Blackbird! We also picked up Lesser Goldfinch and Black Phoebe. We dipped on any Vireos and Orange-crowned Warbler. However, we did find a pretty neat exotic Saffron Finch:

Saffron Finch
Saffron Finch

 

Posted by on August 9, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Three New Photo Birds…

I’ve spent the past couple of days at Ballona. I figured I’d get my fill of it before I leave for Crane Creek, Ohio this Friday. And by the title of this post, you could say I had pretty good luck at that. I heard Barbara Johnson had found a Solitary Sandpiper Monday morning so I decided to try my luck for it that afternoon. I managed to find it amongst lots of Short-billed Dowitchers, Western Sandpipers and Least Sandpipers:

Solitary Sandpiper

And today, I finally managed to track down the ever elusive Red-throated Loon. I only saw him one other time at Ballona Creek…as he was flying away. This time he was extremely cooperative, swam right toward me with perfect lighting:

Red-throated Loon

As I was photographing the Red-throated Loon, a single Clark’s Grebe floated by me with two other Western Grebe’s making that photo bird #3!

Clark's Grebe

Not a new photo bird but I also got some great shots of a Wandering Tattler and Black Turnstone that were creeping along the rocks as I was photographing the Red-throated Loon:

Wandering Tattler

Black Turnstone

A great way to start the week! I can only hope I will have the same luck this week while I’m at Crane Creek….

 

Posted by on April 29, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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