I live in San Diego’s North County, and have been enjoying walks around a man-made lake nearby. One of the reasons I love walking there is the abundance of wild life, especially birds. I know I have covered these darlings before, but there are a few different species around this time of year.
Of course, being a lake with reeds, we have the ducks and mud hens and red winged blackbirds attracted to that habitat. Also we have sparrows in huge numbers. We have morning doves. We have bushtits. We have black phoebes. I try to identify some of the sparrows, but other than the rufous crowned sparrow, I find it hard to tell them apart. This Audubon site is extremely helpful. I need to get it on my phone. http://www.audubon.org/field-guide?search_api_views_fulltext=&field_bird_family_tid=84&field_bird_region_tid=116
I have been looking for the name of the beautiful chestnut breasted bird I see there. Guess what? It’s a blackheaded grosbeak. I finally found it here at this great web site. Such a beautiful little thing. http://www.laspilitas.com/California_birds/California_birds.html
New to the area for the summer, or at least it seems to have been least in sight before, is the Western Scrub Jay. Everyone just calls them blue jays, of course, but I have known for a while that we have our own western bird. They love to chase the smaller birds away from the bird seed kind hearts leave on the fence posts. I try to remember to bring peanuts for them but have only remembered twice in six months.
This wouldn’t be California without the California quail. Our state bird is a silly creature often seen crossing the walking path at the lake. The male goes first, and if we get too close, he flies up the hillside while making lots of noise. Not sure what that accomplishes for him. Sometimes a hen follows behind him, running as fast as she can. In the spring, we saw the chicks, and they are so darling. They walk in a straight line behind mom and follow her down or up the hillsides.
We have a wide variety of hummingbirds, but they don’t hang around the lake unless there are things in bloom. We have different doves as well, one that I tried to get a photo of I have not seen anything like in any photo collection. This dove was huge and an interesting shade of brown. It perched on a lower branch in a tree, just out of range of my phone camera. Oh well.
Now and again, we get egrets at the lake, their tall, snowy shapes stand out in the trees or the shore. In a few months, the ruddy ducks and many more mallards will return to the water, either to raise a family or as a stop on the way elsewhere. Year round, the lake provides lots of steady customers and a few surprises, that make it attractive as a place of exercise.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.