Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pre-Spring Observations

Montaña de Oro State Park - Oystercatcher's can often be seen on the rugged shale formations that reach out into the sea (above photo).   A few days ago observed three Oystercatcher's participating in what could be described as a mating ritual.  A pair possibly males, while cheeping loudly, were in unison, prancing and bobbing their heads while another Oystercatcher (below photo), possibly a female and slightly larger than the two prancers, sedately observed the action.  
Obviously she was not impressed with their performance, as she flew off.  The two males wasted not a moment, cheeping loudly, they dashed after her.  To my disappointment they flew out of sight.
Continuing with Montaña de Oro Observations - About two weeks ago California Thrasher, known as an exuberant songster, began his spring song fest.  Thrasher vocalizations mark territory, demonstrate motivation, and if luck prevails, attract females.  Like their cousin, the Northern Mockingbird, they are mimics.  The more varied their repertoire, the greater their attraction to females.

One of the delightful aspects of Thrashers is when they sing, they are perched atop a large bush and easy to observe.  The California Thrasher in the photo is perched on a Dune Lupine Bush.
Another songster that has begun his pre-spring vocalization at Montaña de Oro is the perky Wrentit.  Although the male sings all year, as spring approaches his song is more frequent.  Unfortunately, unlike the Thrasher, Wrentits are difficult to observe, as they spend most of their time well hidden in the brush, which this year is dense due to abundant rain.  When birding the coastal areas of California and you hear a song ending in a descending ping pong ball trill, you know that somewhere in the brush is a Wrentit. 


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