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Glorious Lagoon June Gloom: Malibu Lagoon, 26 June 2022

July 1, 2022

[By Chuck Almdale]

Sandy bird island almost lost in the fog (Lillian Johnson 6/26/22)

Once again the June Gloom fog came to our rescue. The fog kept the temperature comfortably between 65-70°F. The waves came in sets, so the surfers were mostly sitting on the water…make that sitting on their boards on the water. Twenty-two birders showed up — almost as many birders as there were species of birds.

Black-crowned Night-Heron in flight #1 & 2 (Ray Juncosa 6/26/22)
Black-crowned Night-Heron in flight #3 & 4 (R. Juncosa 6/26/22)

At 0830 at our starting point by the weird semi-shaded pavilion, the sun is always in our eyes when we look at the channel immediately in front of us. Common birds can become mysterious gray-brown objects. I got there a little late and most people were looking at a perched wading bird and wondering, “What is that thing?”

Juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron with fish (R. Juncosa 6/26/22)

Well, it was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. There were two of them: one in streaky juvenile plumage, the other in a plumage between juvenile (born this year) and adult (usually three years old). They can be a bit confusing even in good light. Lots of people misidentify the juveniles as an American Bittern because of all the streaks.

Great-tailed Grackle in & out of the bath (Grace Murayama 6/26/22)

Lagoon water level was quite high. Checking the summer clock sidewalk we found that the level had recently gotten up to 7′ 8.4″.

Submerged summer clock sidewalk (L. Johnson 6/26/22)
Black Phoebe favors this particular rock (G. Murayama 6/26/22)

The only ducks present were Gadwall and Mallard, some with chicks in tow. Some of the adult-sized birds didn’t look like adults, so I assume they’re the product of hatchings earlier this year.

Ground Squirrel (G. Murayama 6/26/22)

The Osprey was present, whom we had not seen since March.

Osprey & fish (Left Ray Juncosa 6/26/22. right Grace Murayama 6/29/22)

There were plenty of Jumping Mullet in the lagoon. It’s easy to tell they’re Jumping Mullet, due to their persistent habit of jumping. I probably saw fifty jumps over the course of several hours. They come in all sizes, some quite large, so the Osprey has his pick. I’m still waiting for some Ph.D. candidate to crank out a thesis narrowing the reasons why they jump down to somewhere under five.

South channel (L. Johnson 6/26/22)

The number of sandpiper species was exceptionally close to none: three Killdeer and three Whimbrel. The Killdeer are present 97% of the time, and nest at the lagoon. I looked at our most recent ten Junes (2011-2021, no count in June 2015):

Ave. total species: 40 (range 33-48), ave. sandpiper species: 4 (2-6), June 2022: 35 and 2.
Species: Ave. all: 40 (range 33-48); ave. sandpipers: 4 (2-6), June’22: 35 and 2.
Counts: Ave. all: 472 (range 248-863), ave. ‘pipers; 21 (6-41), June’22: 437 and 6.
This year is definitely lower than average, confirming — for a change — my vague suspicion.

Young Great Blue Heron & gooey drip (R. Juncosa 6/26/22)

 There were quite a few Brown Pelicans on the sand island, and they kept coming and going all morning long. Towards the end of our walk all the birds on the island — gulls, terns, cormorants and pelicans — suddenly rose up into the air. This usually signals a hawk or falcon in flight, but none were to be seen.

Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants & Royal Tern (R. Juncosa 6/26/22)

A few minutes later I spotted a Turkey Vulture on the other side of the sand island whom we had not seen land, ripping at something out–of-sight from us. Most likely it was feeding on one of the several Brown Pelican corpses lying about, and someone commented, “That’s probably what put the birds up.” Quite likely. They hadn’t stirred when the vultures first appeared high in the sky, but one dropping down among them was enough to set them off. The vulture of course paid them no attention as they were pointlessly (to him) alive, and the birds quickly returned and settled back down.

West channel algae (L. Johnson 6/26/22)

We didn’t see any Western Snowy Plovers, but Grace and Larry came by three days later and found a male and a female on the eastern edge of the lagoon.

Western Snowy Plovers: female left, male right (G. Murayama 6/26/22)

The photos show a darker day than I thought it to be. When you looked up at the sky it seemed quite blue, yet there were small white wisps of fog everywhere. As I was leaving around 11:30, I saw tiny patches of fog moving a few inches above the lagoon surface and drifting into the pickleweed. Yet the sky seemed bright. It’s probably aliens tinkering with our weather, yet again.

View from meeting place (L. Johnson 6/26/22)

On his way back to the parking lot, Chris Lord spotted a Band-tailed Pigeon, a bird we’ve seen on only (now) three occasions, with a total of nine birds. They’re usually up in the hills, eating acorns.

Birds new for the season: Band-tailed Pigeon, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Osprey.

Malibu Lagoon on eBird as of 6-27-22: 5873 lists, 313 species

Many thanks to photographers: Lillian Johnson, Grace Murayama, Ray Juncosa

Beachy fog (L. Johnson 6/26/22)

Upcoming SMBAS scheduled field trips: Our next trip will be Malibu Lagoon on July 24. This, and any other trip we announce for the foreseeable future will be dependent upon the expected status of the Covid pandemic at trip time. Any trip announced may be canceled shortly before trip date if it seems necessary. By now any other comments along this line should be superfluous.

The next SMBAS program: Zoom Evening Meeting, Tuesday, 4 October 2022, 7:30 p.m.

The SMBAS 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk is currently under discussion concerning resumption.

Links: Unusual birds at Malibu Lagoon
9/23/02 Aerial photo of Malibu Lagoon
More recent aerial photo

Prior checklists:
2021: Jan-July
July-Dec
2020: Jan-JulyJuly-Dec  2019: Jan-June, July-Dec  
2018: Jan-June, July-Dec  2017: Jan-June, July-Dec
2016: Jan-June, July-Dec  2015: Jan-May, July-Dec
2014: Jan-July,  July-Dec  2013: Jan-June, July-Dec
2012: Jan-June, July-Dec 2011: Jan-June, July-Dec
2010: Jan-June, July-Dec  2009: Jan-June, July-Dec

The 10-year comparison summaries created during the Lagoon Reconfiguration Project period, remain available—despite numerous complaints—on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page. Very briefly summarized, the results unexpectedly indicate that avian species diversification and numbers improved slightly during the restoration period June’12-June’14.

Many thanks to Lillian Johnson, Chris Lord and others for their contributions to this month’s checklist.

The list below now includes a column on the left side with numbers 1-9, keyed to the nine categories of birds at the bottom. The species are re-sequenced to agree with the California Bird Records Committee Official California Checklist, updated 15 Jan 2022. I generally do this sequence update at the start of each year.
[Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 20221/232/273/274/245/226/26
Temperature61-7361-7057-6572-7561-6665-70
Tide Lo/Hi HeightL+2.04H+5.76H+5.00H+4.50L-0.32H+3.33
 Tide Time064506210615044210290943
1(Black) Brant    6 
1Canada Goose2263  
1Egyptian Goose 1    
1Cinnamon Teal 2    
1Gadwall29847262515
1American Wigeon4 612 
1Mallard201230141535
1Northern Pintail1     
1Green-winged Teal1112152  
1Surf Scoter10 153  
1Bufflehead25    
1Common Goldeneye  2   
1Red-breasted Merganser965   
1Ruddy Duck 41   
2Pied-billed Grebe3331 1
2Eared Grebe 1 1  
2Western Grebe301216   
7Feral Pigeon20108468
7Band-tailed Pigeon 3   1
7Eurasian Collared-Dove1     
7Mourning Dove 424 2
8Anna’s Hummingbird221 1 
8Allen’s Hummingbird333312
2American Coot497365144
5Black-bellied Plover58252821 
5Killdeer2104233
5Semipalmated Plover   15  
5Snowy Plover 1510   
5Whimbrel8282 3
5Marbled Godwit321 2  
5Ruddy Turnstone65    
5Sanderling1 452  
5Dunlin   1  
5Least Sandpiper12201050  
5Western Sandpiper1113530  
5Spotted Sandpiper   61 
5Willet15862  
5Red-necked Phalarope    1 
6Bonaparte’s Gull1     
6Heermann’s Gull451815427
6Ring-billed Gull401751665  
6Western Gull958895579555
6California Gull92551018535333
6Herring Gull212   
6Glaucous-winged Gull5586  
6Caspian Tern 18121522
6Royal Tern52351833
6Elegant Tern  622024 
2Red-throated Loon12    
2Pacific Loon12    
2Common Loon21    
2Black-vented Shearwater1000     
2Brandt’s Cormorant615150 
2Pelagic Cormorant123112 
2Double-crested Cormorant455133262246
2Brown Pelican11015236865126
3Great Blue Heron421123
3Great Egret2 5324
3Snowy Egret634112
3Green Heron1     
3Black-crowned Night-Heron5    4
4Turkey Vulture 15344
4Osprey111  1
4Cooper’s Hawk11    
4Red-shouldered Hawk11    
4Red-tailed Hawk11    
8Belted Kingfisher1111  
4Merlin1     
9Black Phoebe433 25
9Say’s Phoebe 1    
9California Scrub-Jay2321 1
9American Crow4206445
9Common Raven1   2 
9Oak Titmouse1     
9Tree Swallow2     
9No. Rough-winged Swallow  248 
9Barn Swallow  481520
9Cliff Swallow   84 
9Bushtit124410 8
9Wrentit  2 2 
9Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2    
9House Wren   2 1
9Northern Mockingbird1 11 1
9European Starling1530321 
9Hermit Thrush1     
9House Finch851561210
9Lesser Goldfinch42 2 1
9Dark-eyed Junco43    
9White-crowned Sparrow3525202  
9Song Sparrow66107104
9California Towhee222221
9Red-winged Blackbird 2 1  
9Brown-headed Cowbird   21 
9Great-tailed Grackle135216
9Orange-crowned Warbler1     
9Common Yellowthroat311   
9Yellow-rumped Warbler1061   
Totals by TypeJanFebMarAprMayJun
1Waterfowl8852127494850
2Water Birds – Other125916414699143177
3Herons, Egrets & Ibis185105513
4Quail & Raptors556345
5Shorebirds1359714611466
6Gulls & Terns1118783363428174110
7Doves2117108611
8Other Non-Passerines665422
9Passerines11711881646463
 Totals Birds27671247894774452437
        
 Total SpeciesJanFebMarAprMayJun
1Waterfowl999642
2Water Birds – Other11117754
3Herons, Egrets & Ibis523334
4Quail & Raptors552112
5Shorebirds9981142
6Gulls & Terns889865
7Doves232213
8Other Non-Passerines333221
9Passerines201716171312
Totals Species – 97726759573935

Malibu Lagoon Monthly Field Trip is a go: Sunday, 26 June 2022

June 24, 2022

Link to prior announcement here.

Temperature: Likely mid-to-high 70’s.
High tide of 3.33 ft. is at 9:43 am!
Dilly-dallying? We still have a few openings.

To reiterate a few rules:

  • If I checked your Covid card last month, I won’t check it again.
  • For all others, bring your covid card. Yes, I have a list.
  • Trip has a few openings. Send me an email if you want to be on it.
  • Email to Chuck: misclists@verizon.net.
  • Masks are not required but are appreciated.
  • Temperature likely to be in mid-to-high 70’s.
  • Expect “A flyȝght of swalowes!”

The prior rules, still in force

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
  • Bring your Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and a photo ID card. They will be checked. If you do not have two shots and a booster recorded on your card, you must wear a mask while you are with the group.
  • If we checked your Covid card last month, we won’t check it this month.
  • Bring your own binoculars.
  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed. Participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated (2 shots + booster) for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • The 10am Children & Parents Walk is NOT reinstated. Not yet, anyway.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists@verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page:
Canada Goose keeps a steely eye on that Killdeer, a notorious sneak. (R. Juncosa 5-26-19)

A fish for a dish, is that what you wish? | YouTube

June 20, 2022
by

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

A female Belted Kingfisher captures a fish and prepares her meal. Watch what happens to the railing. Sound included.

Malibu Lagoon Monthly Field Trip: Sunday, 26 June 2022

June 13, 2022

Rules for Malibu Lagoon trip are
unchanged from last month
.
The following rules will be in effect:

  • Registration required, max. 30 people. No drop-ins, please.
  • Register to Chuck: misclists@verizon.net, not to this email or blog.
  • Masks are not required but will be appreciated.
  • Bring your Covid-19 Vaccination Record Card and a photo ID card. They will be checked. If you do not have two shots and a booster recorded on your card, you must wear a mask while you are with the group.
  • If we checked your Covid card In March-May, we won’t check it this month.
  • Bring your own binoculars; telescope too if you have one.
  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed. Participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are required for those who are not fully vaccinated (2 shots + booster) for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • The 10am Children & Parents Walk is NOT reinstated.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact Chuck: misclists@verizon.net
  • Additional information on our permanent Covid-19 blog page:
“I don’t know! I’m following you!” (Grace Murayama 6/6/19)

The wintering and most of the migrant birds are gone, but the nesting birds are out and about feeding their young, and the gulls and waders who couldn’t be bothered to leave will be lounging around. The sun and sand are warm, the mullet may be jumping, and the tide is 3.33′ high at 9:43 am! Well…medium high anyway.

Some of the great birds we’ve had in June: Brant, Gadwall, Red-breasted Merganser, Pied-billed Grebe,  Pelagic Cormorant, Great & Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, White-tailed Kite, Red-tailed Hawk, Killdeer, Willet, Long-billed Curlew, Ruddy Turnstone, Heermann’s Gull, Caspian, Royal & Elegant Tern, White-throated Swift, Anna’s & Allen’s Hummingbird, Black Phoebe, Cassin’s Kingbird, Rough-winged, Barn and Cliff Swallow, Northern Mockingbird, Common Yellowthroat, California Towhee, Song Sparrow, Red-winged Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle, Lesser Goldfinch.

It will be, as they so often say: “A flyȝght of swalowes!” 

Immature Brown Pelican (Ray Juncosa 5-27-18)

Adult Walk 8:30 a.m., 4th Sunday of every month.  Beginner and experienced, 2-3 hours.  Species range from 40 in June to 60-75 during migrations and winter.  We move slowly and check everything as we move along.  When lagoon outlet is closed we may continue east around the lagoon to Adamson House.  We put out special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginning birdwatchers.  So please, if you are at all worried about coming on a trip and embarrassing yourself because of all the experts, we remember our first trips too.  Someone showed us the birds; now it’s our turn. Bring your birding questions.

Children and Parents Walk: Still canceled due to Covid-19 pandemic, immunization and masking problems, especially with young children.

Last June the tide was very high, with lots of algae. (Lillian Johnson 6-27-21)

Map to Meeting Place
Directions: Malibu Lagoon is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road, west of Malibu Pier and the bridge.  Look around for people wearing binoculars.
Parking: Parking machine recently installed in the lagoon lot: 1 hr $3; 2 hrs $6; 3 hrs $9, all day $12 ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read signs carefully) on either of PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center Way north (inland) of the shopping center.  Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted (i.e. they tow cars).

Prior checklists:
2021: Jan-July
July-Dec
2020: Jan-JulyJuly-Dec  2019: Jan-June, July-Dec  
2018: Jan-June, July-Dec  2017: Jan-June, July-Dec
2016: Jan-June, July-Dec  2015: Jan-May, July-Dec
2014: Jan-July,  July-Dec  2013: Jan-June, July-Dec
2012: Jan-June, July-Dec 2011: Jan-June, July-Dec
2010: Jan-June, July-Dec  2009: Jan-June, July-Dec

[Chuck Almdale]

Canceled: LAAS rerun of Migrating birds of Bear Divide, Weds., 8 June

June 9, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Ryan Terrill was still sick Wednesday and couldn’t give Los Angeles Audubon Society his presentation. LAAS says they will try for September, 2022. Many asked, thus the explanation.


Unfortunately for SMBAS, the interesting impromptu talk given by Richard Crossley on Tuesday night was not taped. It’s now irretrievably surfing the electromagnetic wave heading towards Alpha Centauri, 4.3 light years away, and to points beyond. So it goes.

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