Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Breeding Birds

I've gotten to see some more interesting birds early in the morning lately. One is the Long-billed Curlew. It definitely has a long bill. And its voice sounds sort of like cur-lew. If more birds were named like this, I think more people might get interested in bird watching. When you have names like Sprague's Pipit or King Rail, it's just hard to visualize a bird.

The long-billed curlew put up quite a ruckus when I stopped for ten minutes to document all the birds that were around me. It flew close, making me wonder how strong that long bill is. It fluttered around on the ground. It was doing a good job distracting me, which, of course, was its goal. Somewhere nearby is a little nest with eggs, and the long-billed curlew didn't want me to find it. (I didn't.)

And it wasn't just one bird, there were several. They were a noisy gang. I really enjoy watching long-billed curlews, though, and overall their population is declining due to reduced habitat. So I feel good that they are doing well out here.

With that long bill, they are even easy to recognize in flight.

On a different survey, I was walking along listening to the million and one meadowlarks when I came upon this silent bird at the water's edge. It's a Wilson's Phalarope, and it was all by its lonesome.

It likes to hunt for insects in the mud, and its longish bill helps it probe the water bottom. 
It never made a sound as I watched, just hopped here and there.

It's quite an interesting-looking bird, and it was fun seeing something out of the ordinary.

Something else out of the ordinary was the sky. The clouds moved fast overhead, and at one point I saw strange striations up above the greasewood. My imagination quickly moved to aliens...

I forced myself to go back to birds and was rewarded seeing  a mother mallard and her little ducklings. Last year I saw mallard ducklings in almost the exact same place. Perhaps next year I will see some again? Although life is full of change, it's nice to have a few things stay the same.

1 comment:

Gayle A. Robison, DVM said...

Those striations in the sky are an indicator of moisture very high up, moving into the area. They commonly indicate rain within 24 hours (though not so much here in Lost Angeles, lol).

I think it's called "mackerel sky", probably because the stripiness looks like fish flesh?

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