Thursday, July 12, 2012


Our grandson is going to the Audubon nature camp at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, so when I heard they had seen Wilson's Phalaropes on their daily bird walk, I called John. He was very happy to see them and get photos. Phalaropes are unusual because the females lay the eggs and then take off down south, leaving the males to brood and raise the chicks. One of the birds John photographed was still in her breeding plumage, more colorful than the male. We also walked over to another pond where a pair of Clark's Grebes have two tiny chicks, a rare breeding record for Orange County.

The next day, John went to Bolsa Chica to photograph the Elegant Tern. The last time he was there, those terns eluded him. In just two days, he took photos of five species of terns, Least, Caspian, Elegant, Royal and Forster's.

Today, July 12th, I took John to Crystal Cove State Park. The whole place is coastal sage scrub. As soon as I parked the car, I heard a soft rattle, but we walked to the edge of the bluff and back before I spotted the California Gnatcatcher. John got a good look before the female/juvenile flew on. We stayed in the same place waiting and were rewarded with a good look and a photo of a male. I even heard the mew call, haven't heard that for a few years. Birds usually travel a circuit of their territory, so patience can pay off. The California Gnatcatcher was a bird I was in charge of finding for John. Everywhere else I used to see them, I had been scouting and struck out. What a relief to finally find them. Friends had steered me to the right place. Phew!

This brings John's total to 578.

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