Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Laguna Lake

Winter rains are slowly filling the parched Laguna Lake. Only a small portion of the lake has water - in some areas barely enough for the dabblers to dabble, yet dabble they do.

Sprinkled among the hundreds and hundreds of Mallard Ducks were American Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, four seldom seen Gadwall, and a small flock of Ring-billed Gull. 
As  I followed the road along the edge of the lake there were White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Song Sparrow, Nuttall's Woodpecker; in the Eucalyptus Yellow-rumpled Warbler was numerous, and what to my delighted ears what should I hear but a Cassin's Kingbird.  In the Spring they nest in the Eucalyptus.  
I was concentrating on a sweet flock of Junco (above), looking for a Slate-colored Junco (no luck) when I head the excited honking of a large, 100 plus, flock of Canada Goose (below).  As they neared, the honking got louder. They were flying from the west end of the dry lake.  There may be a pond in that area, but it is hidden by vegetation.  They ended in shallow water not far from where I was standing.  The sound and sight of this large flock coming in for a landing was a special treat. 
On the way home looked for the Bald Eagle that had been seen several times perched on a snag in a tall Eucalyptus. And there it was!  Fortunately, traffic was light and was able to pull to the side of the road to get a splendid view of our National Bird. 

From Los Osos Valley Road turned off on Turri Road, a five mile rural road that winds gently thru rolling farm land.  In the area of the windmill and water trough, Western Meadowlark and Western Bluebird were close to the road, flitting after insects.  Males of both species were sporting their brilliant breeding plumage.  Another marvelous morning of birding the Central Coast.