Sunday, April 6, 2008

Santa Ana NWR, 4/6/08

Anticipating a big hawk flight this morning, I positioned myself early up on the tower at Santa Ana NWR. The Turners were up there hoping to see some Mississippi Kites. I told them I had one over our house last might. Well, the first two hours were really slow with only a handful of hawks. This Harris' Hawk has a nest nearby.

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This Bronzed Cowbird was sitting eye-level on the lookout for females. A family of locals with their kids had climbed the tower just to look around. I let them look through the scope at the cowbird which at the time was the only thing close. The family didn't speak English except for a 12 or 13 year old boy who upon seeing the bird said "It has red eyes. Will it kill you?" In the land of chupacabras I guess cowbirds can be killers too.

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Mark and Sandy called it quits at 10 AM and with a big bunch of kids climbing the tower I gave up also. Well, I was right about a big flight. The hawks were in Mexico and had not arrived yet. By the end of the day the hawk watch team on the levee had recorded 45,000 Broadwinged and 1000 Swainson's Hawks.

Meanwhile I decided to check out Pintail Lake. There was lots of the regular stuff but nothing too great. I had a small flock of warblers with Northern Parula, Nashville and Black-throated Green warblers. I spent some time studying a flock of White-faced Ibis trying to make one into a Glossy. Then as I was getting close to the levee and about to head back to the car, I did some pygmy owl calls in an area where I often find a warbler or too. I heard a "tink" call several times from the brush and then noticed a small black bird. Getting my binoculars on it I saw a bluish-black bird with a bright blue forehead and blue cheeks. Oh my goodness! It's a male Blue Bunting. As I tried to position myself for a photograph, the bird slipped deeper in the brush. It called a few minutes but I couldn't refind it despite some serious digging through the brush. I hate getting a good bird like this for only a few seconds. Hope someone else can find it but I'll be surprised if they do.

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 30
Mallard (Mexican) 10
Blue-winged Teal 4
Northern Shoveler 12
Plain Chachalaca 5
Least Grebe 5
Pied-billed Grebe 1
Neotropic Cormorant 1
Anhinga 1
Great Blue Heron 3
Great Egret 3
Snowy Egret 15
Little Blue Heron 3
Tricolored Heron 4
Cattle Egret 7
Green Heron 1
White Ibis 1
White-faced Ibis 50
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Turkey Vulture 25
Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Harris's Hawk 3
Broad-winged Hawk 3
Gray Hawk 1
Swainson's Hawk 3
Crested Caracara 1
Common Moorhen 2
American Coot 12
Killdeer 1
Black-necked Stilt 35
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Lesser Yellowlegs 30
Long-billed Curlew 2
Least Sandpiper 17
Pectoral Sandpiper 1
Stilt Sandpiper 5
Long-billed Dowitcher 3
Rock Pigeon 2
White-winged Dove 8
Mourning Dove 6
Inca Dove 2
White-tipped Dove 3
Groove-billed Ani 1
Eastern Screech-Owl 1
Ringed Kingfisher 1
Green Kingfisher 1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker 12
Ladder-backed Woodpecker 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Great Kiskadee 8
Couch's Kingbird 20
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher 40
White-eyed Vireo 4
Green Jay 2
Barn Swallow 1
Black-crested Titmouse 6
Carolina Wren 5
House Wren 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4
Clay-colored Robin 1
Northern Mockingbird 6
Long-billed Thrasher 4
Orange-crowned Warbler 1
Nashville Warbler 5
Northern Parula 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 10
Olive Sparrow 6
Lincoln's Sparrow 2
Northern Cardinal 3
Blue Bunting 1
Red-winged Blackbird 200
Great-tailed Grackle 10
Bronzed Cowbird 12
Lesser Goldfinch 1