Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wandering Tattler and California Gnatcatcher

Birding city parks for birds hasn't been our strong point, but today we tried for a couple of birds in two locations that couldn't by any stretch be called natural habitat.  The first was Veteran's Park in Sylmar where a male Williamson Sapsucker had been seen near lightpost #20.  When we first arrived and found #19, we heard a sapsucker-like call which I think was from a Cooper's Hawk that was in the area.  Anyway I got excited and from somewhere there appeared this Frenchman who asked, "Do you have zee Sap Suck AIR?"  He followed us around until we found #20 and eventually the bird.  I went to get my camera, the bird flew to points unknown, and I learned again that when you leave your camera behind you risk missing the shot.  The second park Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park was little more than a ballfield.  But it had been reported that some Spotted Doves were there.  In years past this introduced species used to be excedingly common, but recently has become very hard to find.  We did find two.  On to Corona del Mar where we scanned the rocks for our missing Tattler.  There were plenty of Black Turnstones and a Surfbird and a couple of Black Oystercatchers down the shore.  And finally there it was...our Wandering Tattler.  At that point Ian, a teenager from Massachusetts who had been birding in Orange County for a week and had 200 species, came up with his scope.  It turns out he did the World Series of Birding on a youth team and racked up 211 species.  Pretty nifty.  So he starts talking about California Gnatcatchers at a state park nearby.  It was too much to resist, so we packed up and headed there.  We walked through the scrubby habitat and after a bit spotted a pair of the dark gray long-tailed birds (web photo).  To celebrate we had stirfry and sushi at a restaurant in Carlsbad and went on to Paul Lehman's in San Diego.  Tomorrow we go on a half-day pelagic as part of the San Diego Bird Festival.  Paul and his wife Barbara will be leading one of the trips but not ours.  Today's birds brings the year list to 390.


  1. Wow 390 already. And spring is just around the corner. What a wonderful start to a bountiful birding year. Impressive.

  2. A poet must have named the Wandering Tattler.

  3. Saw a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher yesterday in Va. Beach........Enjoying your big year.