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Field Trip Report: Malibu Creek State Park; Sat., 13 November, 2010

November 17, 2010
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The first bird of the morning was a White-tailed Kite which we saw from the parking lot.  It was an unexpected treat because these birds have been uncommon in the park in recent years.

It was still cold when we left the parking lot and walked past the

Purple Finch ♀ - Note robust bill, unstreaked vent (A. Kotin 11/13/10)

amphitheater and along the edge of the campground.  Although the campground is usually very “birdy” we found it to be rather quiet, perhaps because of the cold.  However, a female Purple Finch perched in the open where we able to see it well and there were a few sparrows moving around.  As we walked from the campground along the access road, the first Red-tailed Hawk of the morning soared overhead.

As we started along the Nature Trail, we saw a Say’s Phoebe and a female Purple Finch with a robust lower mandible.  The mature oak trees along that trail offered some species typical of that habitat, including Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, White-breasted Nuthatch and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Our attention was drawn to the song of a Hutton’s Vireo and most of us got good looks at the bird although it was quite active.

Cassin's Kingbird - backlighting creates illusion of white outer tail feathers (A. Kotin 11/13/10)

After leaving the Nature Trail, we crossed the creek and started along Crags Road in the direction of the Visitors’ Center.  As we walked along Crags Road, we found a Loggerhead Shrike and a small flock of Pine Siskin among other species.  A few people got a look at a Canyon Wren that had been calling repeatedly from rocky outcrop next to the trail.

We had good looks at a Red-breasted Sapsucker that was busily drilling holes in one of the trees near the Visitors’ Center and a few people saw a Red-naped Sapsucker in the same tree.  When we left the area of the Visitors’ Center, we took advantage of the sun angle to get a better look at a small flock of Band-tailed Pigeons that was perched in the trees along the creek.  As we walked back to the parking lot for a late picnic lunch, we realized that the White-tailed Kite was still present.

A review of the checklist  (shown below) made it clear that we missed a few of the species commonly found in the park while enjoying some unusual sightings.  [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Creek State Park Trip List
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos 15
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris 1
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias 1
White-tailed Kite Elanus leucurus 2
Red-shouldered Hawk Buteo lineatus 1
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis 3
American Kestrel Falco sparverius 1
American Coot Fulica americana 15
Band-tailed Pigeon Columba fasciata 12
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 2
White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis 20
Anna’s Hummingbird Calypte anna 2
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon 1
Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus 15
Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis 1
Red-breasted Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius 1
Nuttall’s Woodpecker Picoides nuttallii 1
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens 2
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus 2
Black Phoebe Sayornis nigricans 6
Say’s Phoebe Sayornis saya 2
Cassin’s Kingbird Tyrannus vociferans 2
Loggerhead Shrike Lanius ludovicianus 1
Hutton’s Vireo Vireo huttoni 1
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica 6
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos 30
Common Raven Corvus corax 10
Oak Titmouse Baeolophus inornatus 12
Bushtit Psaltriparus minimus 15
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis 6
Canyon Wren Catherpes mexicanus 1
Bewick’s Wren Thryomanes bewickii 2
House Wren Troglodytes aedon 3
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula 3
Western Bluebird Sialia mexicana 1
Wrentit Chamaea fasciata H
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata 40
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas 1
Spotted Towhee Pipilo maculatus 4
California Towhee Pipilo crissalis 4
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia 1
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys 20
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis 12
Purple Finch Carpodacus purpureus 2
House Finch Carpodacus mexicanus 4
Pine Siskin Carduelis pinus 5
Lesser Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria H
Total 47 Birds
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