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Malibu Lagoon Field Trip Report, 22 May, 2011

May 30, 2011

Despite the oft-predicted and much-vaunted “End of the World” and/or “Day of Judgment”, Saturday, May 21 was no more noteworthy than usual for a Saturday in May, or for a Day of Judgment, for that matter. I think there’s been several dozen such days in the past 150 years, and so far…well, I hope none of you were surprised or disappointed by the lack of events. My absence caused a momentary riffle of consternation that I’d been raptured, an unlikely event under any scenario, but actually we were at the Grand Canyon, which is close enough to rapture for me. We saw a condor there, #246, very low overhead, much to our delight.

As a result, on Sunday, May 22, the coast was clear for some good ol’ Malibu Lagoon birding, led by the able and energetic Lucian, who supplied this report. Fourteen friendly people attended including a few new faces. Apparently Spring migration is almost complete, with few seasonal birds in attendance. The general species count was low, as were the number of beach people. There weren’t even many surfers. The outlet is currently a well-behaved stream, exiting far to the east near the lifeguard tower closest to the pier, but not endangering the riprap wall of the Adamson House. The beach berm is vegetated mostly with Sea Rocket and the sand mound is high and at least 100 feet deep. The Snowy Plover virtual fencing has been removed and – as last month – we saw no Snowies.

Brown Pelican adult and sub-adult (C.Almdale)

Gull count was extremely low; the Brown Pelicans were down to a more typical number. The most surprising sighting, surprisingly enough, was 7 Great-tailed Grackles. This species has been present at the lagoon 65 times since they first showed up in April 1995 and, except for 25 birds on 8/27/06, we’ve never seen more than 6 at a time. [OK, OK, 1 more than 6 doesn’t amount to much more, I admit.]

After birding the marsh and the beach for about two hours, a few hardy souls drive up to the Pepperdine reclamation ponds, but no new species were found.

As a reminder to those who plan to come to our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids birdwalk, they meet at the beach trail footbridge closest to the parking lot.

Check out our new blog page created especially for Unusual Birds at Malibu Lagoon, the permanent location for pictures of our uncommon birds. Look for other new pages coming in the future. For prior period bird lists, follow these links to July-Dec ’10Jan-June ’10, Jul-Dec ‘09, and Jan-June ‘09.  For an aerial photo of the lagoon (9/23/02), go here.   [Lucien Plauzoles & Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2011

23-Jan

27-Feb

27-Mar

24-Apr

22-May

Temperature

68-75

45-60

54-61

59-68

64-68

Tide Height

+4.94

-0.41

+0.05

+0.19

-0.13

Low/High &Time

H:1117

L:1243

L:1216

L:1014

L:0816

Canada Goose

6

Gadwall

15

22

32

24

3

American Wigeon

4

Mallard

24

24

30

22

48

Northern Shoveler

4

2

Green-winged Teal

12

17

10

2

Surf Scoter

8

8

Bufflehead

5

2

Red-brstd Merganser

6

8

4

Ruddy Duck

40

33

15

3

Pacific Loon

1

1

15

20

Common Loon

1

1

Pied-billed Grebe

3

2

1

Horned Grebe

1

Eared Grebe

3

Western Grebe

6

12

20

2

Brandt’s Cormorant

1

3

Dble-crstd Cormorant

57

37

90

19

46

Pelagic Cormorant

4

3

1

2

Brown Pelican

42

23

89

740

81

Great Blue Heron

2

1

1

4

1

Great Egret

1

1

1

Snowy Egret

8

9

5

11

3

Blk-crwnd N-Heron

1

1

2

Turkey Vulture

3

Osprey

1

1

1

1

Cooper’s Hawk

1

Red-tailed Hawk

1

2

2

Peregrine Falcon

1

Virginia Rail

1

1

1

1

Sora

4

3

4

American Coot

145

175

153

32

25

Blk-bellied Plover

1

65

3

Snowy Plover

60

59

42

Semipalmated Plover

25

Killdeer

3

4

2

8

2

Black Oystercatcher

1

American Avocet

4

Spotted Sandpiper

2

2

1

Willet

1

7

3

Whimbrel

1

5

1

3

Ruddy Turnstone

5

Sanderling

135

Western Sandpiper

2

12

Least Sandpiper

10

18

20

25

Short-billd Dowitcher

1

Boneparte’s Gull

13

4

2

1

Heermann’s Gull

62

3

Mew Gull

1

Ring-billed Gull

120

250

50

52

16

Western Gull

100

120

100

160

10

California Gull

2500

1050

1100

450

8

Herring Gull

1

Glaucous-wingd Gull

2

3

2

Caspian Tern

5

61

4

Forster’s Tern

1

1

Royal Tern

3

Elegant Tern

4

12

12

Black Skimmer

3

3

Rock Pigeon

5

4

2

4

8

Eur. Collared-Dove

1

Mourning Dove

2

2

4

1

Anna’s Hummingbird

3

2

2

2

1

Rufous Hummingbird

1

Allen’s Hummingbird

6

3

4

2

4

Belted Kingfisher

1

1

1

Black Phoebe

4

5

12

8

4

Say’s Phoebe

1

1

Western Kingbird

2

American Crow

6

4

6

5

3

Rough-wingd Swallow

2

16

2

Tree Swallow

8

1

Violet-green Swallow

1

Barn Swallow

1

3

10

8

Cliff Swallow

1

31

Bushtit

9

6

4

Bewick’s Wren

2

1

2

House Wren

1

Marsh Wren

1

Northern Mockingbird

1

2

1

2

2

California Thrasher

2

European Starling

35

40

Ornge-crwnd Warbler

1

Yellow-rumpd Warbler

6

2

8

4

Common Yellowthroat

4

2

3

6

2

California Towhee

1

1

1

Savannah Sparrow

5

Song Sparrow

8

8

12

10

4

White-crwnd Sparrow

4

3

2

Red-winged Blackbird

1

4

6

1

2

Great-tailed Grackle

1

2

7

Brwn-headed Cowbird

3

3

House Finch

5

3

20

10

8

Lesser Goldfinch

4

4

1

4

American Goldfinch

8

Totals by Type

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Waterfowl

106

126

99

51

51

Water Birds-Other

267

257

376

820

152

Herons, Egrets

11

12

7

16

6

Quail & Raptors

2

0

6

3

3

Shorebirds

82

301

71

74

5

Gulls & Terns

2785

1440

1270

743

51

Doves

7

4

4

9

9

Other Non-Pass.

10

6

8

4

5

Passerines

70

81

94

83

122

Totals Birds

3340

2227

1935

1803

404

           
Total Species

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Waterfowl

7

10

6

4

2

Water Birds-Other

11

9

11

9

3

Herons, Egrets

3

4

3

3

3

Quail & Raptors

2

0

3

2

3

Shorebirds

8

10

7

6

2

Gulls & Terns

6

7

9

9

6

Doves

2

1

2

3

2

Other Non-Pass.

3

3

4

2

2

Passerines

17

15

18

17

16

Totals Species – 95

59

59

63

55

39

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