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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 28 March, 2010

March 28, 2010

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, and we didn’t need a calendar to see that Spring has arrived. All the bird groups and most species have dropped in numbers from February (see chart below). Breeding plumages are beginning to appear. (Pictures get bigger if you double-click them.)

Brown-headed Cowbird (C.Bragg 3/10)

I had to keep recounting the Elegant Terns as their numbers continually climbed.  (No Royal Terns among them. Of course not. They wouldn’t dare.) All the Pacific Loons were flying west along the shoreline. The Double-crested Cormorants are developing their bushy white eyebrows (crests, actually). The Say’s Phoebes and White-crowned Sparrows were gone, as were the adult Heermann’s Gulls;, Song Sparrows were singing everywhere, Brown-headed Cowbirds were following all the other birds around, probably hoping to find an unattended nest in which to dump an egg or two, and Black Phoebes kept vanishing under the footbridges, no doubt busily building nests.

Symbolic Fence 28 March (C.Almdale 3/10)

A brisk wind at the beginning fooled us into thinking it would be cool, but that soon disappeared,

forcing us to start removing clothing (jackets, no fear.) The lagoon outlet is still peculiarly configured, leaving a sand island parallel to the beach, with the outlet as far to the east as it can possibly

be, nearly undercutting the fence at the southeast corner of the Adamson property. Waves were nearly non-existent, yet a few bored surfers clung to hope like barnacles to boat bottoms. Judging by many of the conversations carried on about me, nous parlons français.

How many Snowy Plovers can you find in this picture? (C.Almdale 3/10)

We were delighted to see that the parks people had erected the “symbolic fence” enclosure as promised, and the sand inside was strewn with seaweed wrack, supplying plenty of food for the little invertebrates which in turn are food for our beleaguered Snowy Plovers. We counted 25 of them, none banded.

The stubborn little Snowies were ignoring their private reserve and sitting on the sand outside the seaward “fence”, but our passage by convinced them they ought to move back inside.

Further along the beach we found a pair of Caspian Terns, probably the tern with the largest breeding range in the world, and, as you may have guessed, named for that inland sea near Iran.

Caspian Tern pair (C.Bragg 3/10)

A lot of Brown Pelicans were still around and one lone 1st-year Glaucous-winged Gull was among the Western Gulls. In the middle side channel a small flock of Least Sandpipers were well on their way into their breeding (alternate) plumage. All-in-all, it was a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

We found out that the Adamson House is now closed on the weekends – no doubt a victim of the omnipresent budget cuts – so we couldn’t check its grounds for orioles and warblers as planned. We Californians seem determined to pinch our pennies until Lincoln screams and I sometimes wonder if we won’t end up with everything, everywhere shuttered for good.

Malibu Bird 2010 2010 2010 2010
Census for 2010 Jan Feb Mar Qtr 1
Temp> 55-61 68-80 Totals
Tide> +.65 +6.19 +5.48
Time> L:1131 H:0835 H:0840
1 Gadwall 20 35 16 71
2 American Wigeon 12 14 26
3 Mallard 10 13 12 35
4 Northern Shoveler 4 8 12
5 Green-winged Teal 7 2 1 10
6 Lesser Scaup 1 1
7 Surf Scoter 35 4 18 57
8 Long-tailed Duck 1 1
9 Bufflehead 6 6
10 Red-breasted Merganser 8 5 1 14
11 Ruddy Duck 30 14 44
12 Red-throated Loon 1 1 2
13 Pacific Loon 1 1 5 7
14 Common Loon 1 1
15 Pied-billed Grebe 1 1
16 Horned Grebe 1 1
17 Eared Grebe 3 3
18 Western Grebe 15 6 27 48
19 Brown Pelican 35 81 184 300
20 Brandt’s Cormorant 1 2 2 5
21 Dble-crestd Cormorant 42 21 42 105
22 Pelagic Cormorant 1 1 2
23 Great Blue Heron 2 2 4
24 Great Egret 3 3 2 8
25 Snowy Egret 15 4 7 26
26 Blk-crwnd N-Heron 1 1
27 Red-shouldered Hawk 1 1
28 Red-tailed Hawk 1 3 2 6
29 Peregrine Falcon 2 2
30 Sora 1 1 1 3
31 American Coot 284 175 92 551
32 Blk-bellied Plover 45 59 25 129
33 Snowy Plover 54 49 25 128
34 Semipalmated Plover 1 1
35 Killdeer 4 1 5
36 Black Oystercatcher 2 2
37 American Avocet 2 2 4
38 Willet 15 15 4 34
39 Spotted Sandpiper 4 2 1 7
40 Whimbrel 2 3 5
41 Marbled Godwit 4 17 12 33
42 Ruddy Turnstone 13 11 2 26
43 Sanderling 85 172 257
44 Least Sandpiper 21 14 35
45 Boneparte’s Gull 2 2
46 Heermann’s Gull 5 7 4 16
47 Ring-billed Gull 55 42 2 99
48 California Gull 875 45 27 947
49 Western Gull 45 74 48 167
50 Glaucous-winged Gull 6 3 1 10
51 Caspian Tern 2 2
52 Royal Tern 12 32 44
53 Elegant Tern 1 1 47 49
54 Forster’s Tern 1 1
55 Black Skimmer 6 5 11
56 Rock Pigeon 8 4 4 16
57 Mourning Dove 2 2 4
58 Anna’s Hummingbird 3 3 3 9
59 Allen’s Hummingbird 2 3 3 8
60 Black Phoebe 4 5 6 15
61 Say’s Phoebe 1 1 2
62 Western Scrub-Jay 1 1
63 American Crow 5 4 4 13
64 Rough-winged Swallow 1 3 4
65 Bushtit 4 5 4 13
66 Bewick’s Wren 2 1 3
67 Northern Mockingbird 2 3 2 7
68 European Starling 35 41 8 84
69 Yellow-rumped Warbler 8 4 5 17
70 Common Yellowthroat 3 1 1 5
71 Spotted Towhee 1 1 2
72 California Towhee 2 1 3
73 Song Sparrow 3 6 8 17
74 White-crowned Sparrow 4 4
75 Red-winged Blackbird 3 2 5
76 Western Meadowlark 1 1
77 Great-tailed Grackle 1 1
78 Brown-headed Cowbird 2 2
79 House Finch 12 3 6 21
80 Lesser Goldfinch 4 4
Jan Feb Mar Qtr 1
Totals by Type
Waterfowl 134 73 70 277
Water Birds-Other 386 289 354 1029
Herons, Egrets 20 7 12 39
Quail & Raptors 4 3 2 9
Shorebirds 251 328 87 666
Gulls & Terns 1006 209 133 1348
Doves 10 4 6 20
Other Non-Pass. 5 6 6 17
Passerines 90 81 53 224
Totals Birds 1906 1000 723 3629
Total Species Jan Feb Mar Qtr 1
Waterfowl 11 6 7 11
Water Birds-Other 12 9 8 13
Herons, Egrets 3 2 4 4
Quail & Raptors 3 1 1 3
Shorebirds 12 9 9 13
Gulls & Terns 9 8 8 11
Doves 2 1 2 2
Other Non-Pass. 2 2 2 2
Passerines 16 15 14 21
Totals Species 70 53 55 80
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