Friday, October 11, 2013

OCEANO LAGOON: A Warbling We Will Go!

The Oceano Lagoon Trail - Try to imagine you are looking in this tangle of willows (above photo) for a song bird that ranges in size from 4 1/2 inches to 5 1/2 inches.  These swiftly moving little Warbler could be clad in greenish/yellow, white/yellow/black, yellow and black, brightish yellow, black and white, yellow/greyish, etc; they blend in with the vegetation.  Willow leaves can turn a bright yellow in the fall which makes it easy to mistake a falling leaf for a Yellow Warbler. (help!)

I do prefer Warblers that have unique identifying marks, such as the Black-throated Gray that has a tiny yellow spot in front of its eye (see photo).  One does not always see the yellow spot, so at a distance and with poor warbling skills, such as I have, one could be looking at a Black and White Warbler instead of a Black-throated Gray Warbler.  (I know that from experience.)

Keep in mind Warblers are seldom at one spot more than a second or two.  Once you see movement, which often is directly overhead in the top branches of a huge willow, you must bring your binoculars up, adjust focus then attempt to locate the bird that a moment ago was flitting through the trees but now is nowhere to be seen and has probably flown to the other side of the lagoon. Warbling takes great patience and a versatile neck.

We (Harry, Norma, and I) arrived at the Lagoon about 9:00.  Conditions were perfect, clear blue sky, mild temp., and no wind.  After three hours of Warbling we had identified 26 species (not all Warblers).  The most notable were four species of Warbler, Black-throated Gray, Black and White, Blackpoll and Yellow.  There were also large flocks of Yellow-rumped Warbler and Townsend's Warbler.

Nearing the point of Warbler overload, we returned to the car, refreshed ourselves with coffee and homemade brownie tidbits.  Not yet finished with our birding extravaganza, we checked out the pond across the road from the lagoon.  Grackles were in the reeds and hanging out with the domestic geese was a snowy white Snow Goose.

To celebrate our success at finding a variety of Warblers, we drove into San Luis Obispo where we enjoyed a scrumptious lunch at the Natural Cafe . . . . .  (Note: proper nutrition is necessary after a morning of intense birding)

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this adventure Joyce ! This lil bird is very cute esp the tiny yellow spot .

    I laughed at your { patience and a versatile neck } Birding is hard but a good excersice and the reward is lovely.

    you last paragraphs made me hungry !