Friday night’s shorebirds were definitely the highlight of this weekend’s birding, but I did get out both Saturday and Sunday mornings, trying mostly for shorebirds. I had mostly the usuals and my best birds for the weekend were 3 BAIRD’S SANDPIPERS first thing Saturday Morning in the Black Dirt. Also noteworthy was a single Pectoral Sandpiper at Citgo Pond on Sunday morning.
I feel like I have some interesting birding experiences recently. The one that stands out most for me was Saturday morning, when I found a bird at Pine Island Turf Nursery (remember – by permission only), that I was unable to identify. I am at the point with my birding that, when I’m in the black dirt, it’s unusual for me not to be able to identify a bird. Luckily, I was able to get some photos of the bird and I sent them immediately to John Haas and Rob Stone. Both came back with the same answer: a hatch year HORNED LARK. Rob added that it likely had recently fledged. When I first saw the bird, I was thinking HOLA or maybe American Pipit, but looking at it, I could not pin it down. It was really cool to see this bird and also excellent to document that HOLAs are breeding in Orange County. There was a tremendous amount of heat distortion in the air Saturday morning, and I photographed the bird from my car, so I think the heat from my car distorted the pics. What an interesting looking bird:
Also on Saturday morning: At Turtle Bay, I had a pair of young Cooper’s Hawk’s in a distant field. They were among a murder of crows, perhaps 25 or so. The crows were making a racket generally harassing the hawks, as they do. The young hawks seemed to think this was a game and repeatedly chased the crows, sometimes flying after them and other times “hopping” towards them.
All week, Bobolinks have been present in large flocks in the black dirt. They have been quite a sight and I was hoping that I would eventually get a decent photo op; I finally did on Saturday morning and I’ve include my best shot at the top of this post.
On Thursday evening I was at Citgo Pond trying for shorebirds. As I was scanning the pond, a large number of Cedar Waxwings were flying over my head, presumably hawking insects. They were very acrobatic in their flying, turning on a dime and at times bordering on hovering. I attempted to take some flight shots and it proved more difficult than I would have thought; I did manage to get a couple of interesting shots:
And, finally, on Sunday morning I went to Citgo Pond once again for shorebirds (9 Least Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 5 Lesser Yellowlegs, 4 Killdeer). On my way in, I had a pair of young wrens on the trail. I wasn’t sure if they were Marsh or House; I was sort of assuming House but looking at the photos when I got home, I’m thinking they must have been Marsh Wrens. They were along the trail and spending some time in the trees, but also some time in the marsh grasses. Please comment if you can confirm/deny this ID, thanks.