Sunday, July 15, 2018
The Bluff Trail birds were very cooperative. Noticed a pair of, difficult to see, Wrentit chasing each other through the brush, Spotted Towhee seemed to be everywhere, California Thrasher, and Bewick's Wren were singing. The highlight of the morning was a precious California Quail family with 11 tiny chicks, mom leading the way, dad taking up the rear. I never cease to be amazed that these itty bitty creatures are independent foragers at birth. I wish them all a long and fruitful life.
Monday, July 2, 2018
Below photo - Parents perched on edge of nest. I find the demeanor of the upper left parent serene.
Sunday, June 17, 2018
There was much activity in the colony, little chicks, and juveniles of various sizes. Some of the juveniles appeared as large, if not larger than their parents, and like typical teenagers they were constantly begging for food. Upon first sight, all I saw was a mass of black. Through binoculars, I began to see the nestlings. At birth they are without feathers and sightless. Within a week they are covered with down. Feeding is accomplished by the parent regurgitating into the nestling's throat. I only saw the feeding process once and it looked like the parent put it's entire bill down the very thin throat of their offspring.
I saw more juveniles than little ones because the little ones were tucked away under their parents. Sometimes I could see a tiny head peeking out. Tending to the young is shared by both parents. What was helpful with locating the young was their fluffy dull black color, and the grayish/white down on the head and wings of the juveniles.
Can you find the tiny chick? The well developed nests are glued together with excrement. Many of the nests appear to be very solid.
White excrement marks the nest sites; ten were occupied. No little ones. The scene was serene.
Saturday, June 2, 2018
The West side of Cottontail Creek Road gently meanders along Whale Rock Reservoir and rolling ranch land dotted with grazing Black Angus Cattle.
We (friend Mike and I) never saw another car nor another person - the only sounds, the birds and the breeze - a birding paradise. After turning off Old Creek Road the car rumbled over a cattle grate. In less than a 1/4 mile the reservoir appeared; we pulled over where we could see the gnarly oak trees. A few years ago I had seen two Bald Eagles perched on the tree; unfortunately no Eagles were visible.
The most exciting part of the morning was yet to come. After a couple hours of birding we were ready for a coffee break. Not wanting to miss anything, we were moving at a snail's pace. To our left were the hills dotted with rocky outcrops, when what to my eyes should appear but our Bald Eagle perched on an outcrop. I pulled over, got out of the car. Walking very slowly managed to get a photo. Far from perfect, but it is my very first Bald Eagle photo.
Monday, May 14, 2018
Females move among the advertising males with thin, up-stretched necks. As a female approaches a group of males (center), there is a sudden increase in displays.
After they pair up the male gathers nesting material while the female builds the nest. Their guano glues it together. Both the male and female defend their nest site from interlopers. When a nest exchange is made the eggs are turned by the new sitter. Incubation (28-31 days) is carried out by both parents. Care is taken during a nest exchange because Western Gulls are waiting for their chance to snatch an egg or a nestling. Rarely are eggs left unattended.
Saturday, April 28, 2018
Now it is 26 days after the Peregrine Falcon posting of April 2nd - The question whether the Peregrines will nest in the Smuggler's Cove cliff site at MdO remains unanswered. This morning at 10:21 there were no Peregrines in sight. At 10:42 the pair arrived. The lonely male (below) went into the possible nesting site; after a few minutes he perched in the opening.
The female, who appeared to be preening, was located (below) in the mating, feeding area (see post of April 2) http://birdingthecentralcoast.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-peregrine-falcons-have-arrived.htm
Stay tuned for the next episode.
For info on the Peregrines of Morro Rock go to http://pacificcoastperegrinewatch.org/
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
The swallows were building mud nests that were tucked under the bridge where the deck meets the the huge bridge supports. Now for the sometimes hard part of birding, identification - an easy task if Swallows were ground feeders. Finally, after much pondering, I concluded they were Cliff Swallow and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. (I do enjoy the pondering)
On the far side of the lagoon, standing in shallow water, were five Caspian Tern, possibly taking a break on their flight north to East Sand Island in Oregon’s Columbia River Estuary where a huge breeding colony of Caspian Tern is located.
Chocolate Lily - Fritillaria biflora (2-3 in.)
Some of the flowers are tiny and barely noticeable. I used binoculars to locate the inch Chocolate Lily patch.
Some of the Wildflowers were: Blue-eyed Grass, Sun Cups, Thrift, tiny Redmaids, Butttercup, Fiddleneck, California Poppy, and one very special flower.
The special flower was alone in it's universe, one small lavender flower, a flower I had never seen before. It was a Monterey Mariposa Lily (Calochortas uniflorus), considered a rare plant due to its limited distribution. Coincidentally I'll be visiting Point Lobos in Monterey in a few weeks and guess what I will be looking for, yes, a Monterey Mariposa Lily. (and birds of course)