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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 25 July, 2010

July 25, 2010

Busy birders on the bridge (C.Almdale 7/10)

Coastal overcast made for a cool day and most birders never got their extra layer off. Some early returning birds from northern breeding were back and in their brightest plumage: Willets, Whimbrels (48!), Western and Least Sandpipers, Semipalmated Plovers and – of course – our local group of wintering Snowy Plovers, 26 strong. Other, more local, breeders were busy reducing the invertebrate population: various herons and egrets including 4 Black-crowned Night Herons; Least, Caspian, Royal and Elegant Terns, and an extraordinary count of  35 Black Skimmers. The air was busy with Swallows: Rough-winged, Cliff and Barn – all local breeders. European Starlings – aggressive, sharp-billed and a bane to all native hole-nesting birds – had a bumper crop and ornamented several trees in a Christmas fashion.

Snowy Plover on Malibu Beach (C.Almdale 10/09)

While we were counting and re-counting Snowy Plovers, a beach maintenance crew drove up to empty the trash bins. We warned them that they were about to drive into the mixed flock of (endangered) Least Terns and (threatened) Snowy Plovers. They were very pleased to know this as they had been warned to watch out for them, and – as all birders know – these diminutive species are nearly invisible when roosting motionless on the sand. We ourselves were very happy to learn that the word about these two species continues to spread through the various governmental authorities.

The Adamson House produced a small number of hummersAnna’s and Allen’s – at the flowering wall, and a foursome of Hooded Orioles investigated the flowering trees, but few other species were present. As we were leaving we spotted a Red-tailed Hawk soaring far away above the Serra Retreat.

Judging by the number of tents with product names on them, some sort of surfing competition was taking place, but the waves weren’t particularly good. A cool day and a light breeze made for very pleasant birding, if not surfing, conditions.

The chart below includes counts for July 2010 and 2009. Sometimes it’s interesting to compare data for equivalent dates in different years. For example, 37 out of 54 species were present in both years and total birds present in 2010 were triple the 2009 population.  [Chuck Almdale]

Link to field trip bird lists for Jan – June 2010 or  July – Dec 2009

Malibu Census – July 2010 2009
Temperature 60-67 68-75
Tide Height +4.05 +0.4
Low/High & Time H:1036 L:0704
(Black) Brant 6 0
Mallard 49 25
Ruddy Duck 3 1
Pied-billed Grebe 5 6
Brown Pelican 187 40
Dble-crstd Cormorant 20 15
Great Blue Heron 6 3
Great Egret 4 5
Snowy Egret 14 40
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 4 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1 1
American Coot 15 20
Snowy Plover 26 1
Semipalmated Plover 6 0
Killdeer 3 0
Willet 7 1
Whimbrel 48 1
Ruddy Turnstone 3 0
Black Turnstone 8 0
Sanderling 4 0
Western Sandpiper 20 1
Least Sandpiper 2 0
Heermann’s Gull 125 12
Ring-billed Gull 4 0
California Gull 1 2
Western Gull 80 30
Caspian Tern 13 0
Royal Tern 2 0
Elegant Tern 10 0
Least Tern 36 0
Black Skimmer 35 0
Rock Pigeon 6 1
Eur. Collared-Dove 0 1
Mourning Dove 4 1
Anna’s Hummingbird 1 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 6 3
Belted Kingfisher 0 1
Black Phoebe 2 6
American Crow 6 1
Rough-winged Swallow 5 2
Cliff Swallow 10 24
Barn Swallow 20 12
Bushtit 6 6
Wrentit 0 1
Northern Mockingbird 2 3
European Starling 80 6
Common Yellowthroat 4 2
California Towhee 2 2
Song Sparrow 3 1
Red-winged Blackbird 1 2
Brwn-headed Cowbird 3 1
Hooded Oriole 4 2
House Finch 2 24
Lesser Goldfinch 2 0
Totals by Type 2010 2009
Waterfowl 58 26
Water Birds-Other 227 81
Herons, Egrets 28 50
Quail & Raptors 1 1
Shorebirds 127 4
Gulls & Terns 306 44
Doves 10 3
Other Non-Pass. 7 5
Passerines 152 95
Totals Birds 916 309
Total Species 2010 2009
Waterfowl 3 2
Water Birds-Other 4 4
Herons, Egrets 4 4
Quail & Raptors 1 1
Shorebirds 10 4
Gulls & Terns 9 3
Doves 2 3
Other Non-Pass. 2 3
Passerines 16 16
Totals Species – 54 51 40
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