Thursday, February 4, 2016

Birding Cloisters Park and Beyond

I entered the park at the east end of the path.  The wintry shrubbery was alive with birds, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Spotted Towhee, House Finch, Anna's Hummingbird, American Goldfinch, Bushtit.  White-crowned Sparrow was singing its little heart out; in the distance an answering song, sounded much like an echo.  Be still my heart.  So many birds and I had only walked a few feet.  Along the path were California Towhee, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and more White-crowned Sparrow.  Six Mallard were swimming peacefully in a narrow drainage ditch.
I was following the path to the beach. 
Extreme tides, together with the surge of powerful waves, had deeply eroded the dunes.  Few clusters of seaweed which was interesting; that meant no flies for the birds to eat.  Maybe that is why the only birds on the beach this morning were ones with longer bills that are able to probe the sand.
The shore birds were busy following the ebb and flow of the surf. Willet (photo), Godwit, Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel.  Small flocks of Sanderling were busy feeding along the edge of the surf, and dashing here and there on the beach. (photo)
Their tiny feet moving so fast it was mind boggling.   The 13 second video shows how the Sanderling were dashing about the beach.
 As I was following the route waves (photo) had taken into the dunes, a small flock of Dunlin swooped overhead.  After a few twists and turns I came upon an area of small ponds, a remnant of the powerful surge that had forced its way into the dunes.  My sudden presence caused a flock of Western Sandpiper to take flight.

Back in the park there was a Willet in the grass and, one of my favorites, a Say's Phoebe perched on a bench.  The murky pond, was very quiet, three Coots, one male Mallard and a few Red-winged Blackbird.  Perhaps on my next visit to the Cloisters' pond the boisterous Great-tailed Grackle will be in residence and my sweet friend, the Sora, will make an appearance.


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