Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rash And Awesome Behavior


Rufous-crowned Sparrow. One of the less-celebrated (WHY???) southwestern specialties. Mission Trails Regional Park, CA.

There is not much more out there that is more self-indulgent and narcissistic than talking about your year list. A year list is ultimately just yours, and unless you actually have a good shot at breaking some kind of record, no one is really going to care. I am keeping a year list, but am by no means doing a big year...my only goal, of course, is to see more species than I did last year, and I don't let silly things like international boundaries affect that.

That said, I'm always a bit interested when someone is keeping track of their year birds, although I'm not sure why....what good does that do me, and why should I be interested in the amount of petroleum they burn in their pursuit with no tangible benefits?

At this point in my life I don't have the time or resources to do a "big year" anywhere, not even on a county level, since I'm constantly moving. Maybe if some sort of kind philanthropist wanted to sponsor me (HINT HINT NUDGE NUDGE), things would be different. I would love nothing more than getting X number of dollars per species recorded and putting that into something like purchasing land for habitat conservation...but as far as I know, there is no precedent for such rash and awesome behavior.

Today's photos are all various year birds that I've seen since arriving in San Diego, for good or ill.


Lark Sparrow. Look at that face. Sorry Jen, you will see them soon. Kitchen Creek Road, CA.


This Rock Wren was sitting in the worst light imaginable, but at least it was abiding....not "confiding" (it told me no secrets), just abiding. Kitchen Creek Road.


Here is a Ash-throated Flycatcher for Laurence. He is a singer of their praises, and I don't blame him. Kitchen Creek Road, CA.


The ideal Costa's Hummingbird portrait features it's giant-but-tiny head lit up in a mix of ultrapurple colors that you didn't even think existed. Unfortunately the sun and the bird need to be in the right places for that, so I got this. Mission Trails Regional Park, CA.



Nashville Warblers are striking birds, and are one of the northbound migrants many Californians prowl the woods for. They won't be coming through for very long though. Kitchen Creek Road.


Black Skimmers are much sought-after birds, no matter how many you have seen. Here is a mirage of some. Mission Bay, San Diego, CA.


Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are busy nesting, at least a couple of pairs are. Got to see one calling and displaying a couple days ago, it was...dazzling, and that's not even taking into account those blazing orange legs. Imperial Beach Sports Park, Imperial Beach, CA.


A Reddish Egret stalks wildly. They are the only bird capable of stalking wildly. J Street Mudflats, Chula Vista, CA.


This Little Blue Heron was the most approachable individual I've come across...it was one of those birds that don't acknowledge your presence. I don't think I could even get it to look at me. But at this young age, it had already mastered the art of staying out of good light. Next time heron, next time. Famosa Slough, San Diego, CA.


In lagoons and estuaries all over the coast, terns of all sorts are flying around in courtship displays, showing fish to each other. These Royal Terns were at Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, CA.

13 comments:

  1. Some of your images make me so homesick for being along shorelines other than the Great Salt Lake and freshwater lakes and ponds here in Utah.

    I've always loved the "Drunken Sailor" dance of the Reddish Egrets and I probably have more images of them on my site than any other species from my time in Florida. They fascinate me.

    I would love to see & photograph a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, in fact if I did I would do a "Drunken Sailor" dance myself.

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    1. Yes...I assume you refer to Florida...I've only birded there once, and once is not enough.

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    2. You should go back to Florida Steve, you are right, once is not enough!

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  2. Interesting point about the Rufous-Crowned Sparrow. I haven't seen too much of them. I happened across one in the Desert Botanical Gardens in central Phoenix. It was a first for the area and made me popular for a few days (isn't it bizarre and wonderful when birding has that effect--a true phenomenon to be sure).
    I think they lack proper publicity because their color scheme is very similar to Chipping Sparrows, and the Chipping Sparrows self-promote much better than Rufous-Crowneds. Also, they might look better.

    It's almost cruel to have it in the same post as a Lark Sparrow. I mean, it's not even fair. The Lark Sparrow is probably the most beautiful Sparrows in all of Sparrowdom.

    This was looking like a good ol' Arizona birding post...until you dropped all those KSimmers and Herons and Terns on us. I guess that is the big difference with California birding after all. Needless to say, I really appreciate you fitting an Ash-Throated Flycatcher in there. It means a lot to me, and even more to him. They shall sing of your benevolence.

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    1. Lark is a good contender for Best Sparrow...but I am partial to the skulky ones...what I do know, for certain, is that Brewer's wins Best Song.

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    2. No doubt. To be fair about the Sparrows' visual evaluation too, I've never seen White-Throated in person, nor the Five-Striped Sparrow...Did you ever see one of those when you were in Arizona?

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    3. I have indeed seen these birds, although Five-stripes on just one particular day, many many years ago. I could definitely use a better look at one of those.

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  3. Hey, I saw the movie. Anybody doing a "big year" says they are not DOING a big year but they really are.

    All great shots!

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  4. Great set of photos! Always love to see skimmers. The Nashville Warbler looks like a delightful little fellow.

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    1. It's true, Nashvilles never fail to delight. Thanks!

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  5. Rad collection of birds... all drool-worthy. Thanks for the Lark- I HAVE seen one before, actually quite near that damn HOSP flock. Curious about this dazzling display of night-herons...

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    1. They have these long plumes on their back that they flair upwards and outwards, while doing a "chuck!" call.

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