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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 22 January, 2012

January 24, 2012


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The beach looked typical for a January high tide day: surf surging across the sand in two places into the lagoon; water rushing seaward through the outlet channel, now shifted far to the east. Fifty degrees, warming to fifty-nine by noon. Gulls and ducks galore, with enough American Coots  mixed in to keep them honest.

Beyond the shear numbers of birds, we didn’t see much that was unusual for this typical winter day. Large waves and high tide combined to keep birds from the offshore rocks and out of the surf zone. Farther out – too far to identify – we could see large rafts of gulls resting on the water. Low fog prevented us from seeing if Black-vented Shearwaters were even further away.

Northern Pintail male in the third channel (C. Bragg 1/22/12)

The Northern Pintails were still there, increased to ten from seven in December. The 81 Snowy Plovers on the beach set yet another record. Banded bird GG:AR was present. Fellow bandee NO:WW was not seen, but with so many birds present and shifting around, it’s difficult to make sure all are actually checked.

A question arose as to the life-span of our local gulls. Here’s some information from The Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds. I personally think the erratic longevities reported are the result of scanty data rather than actual likely life-spans. As with most species of birds, and as it used to be with humans, mortality in the first year is very high.

: Longest reported 12 years, 2 months
Glaucous-winged: One banded on San Juan Is., WA still alive at 22 years, 1 month
Herring: One banded in Holland lived to 31 years 11 months. Two captive birds in Morehead City, NC lived to 45 and 49 years.
Mew: One reported from Denmark to be 24 years, 2 months.
Ring-billed: A Mich. study recorded 67% were 3-5 years old. One bird banded in Mich died at 21 years.
Western: Oldest reported 16 years; probably much longer lived, as with Herring.
Black-legged Kittiwake: One banded in Denmark lived 15 years, 10 months.

2nd winter Thayer's Gull on the left, 1st winter Glaucous-winged in the center (A. Albaisa 1/22/12)

One banded on Lake Michigan & collected at 26 years, 2 months.
Common: One banded bird recovered in England 25 years.
Least: One banded in Mass. lived 21 years.
Royal: One banded in SC lived 10 years, 8 months.

Royal Tern already in breeding plumage stretching its wing (C. Bragg 1/22/12)

Our next three field trips: Salton Sea – 11/12 Feb, 9am;  Malibu Lagoon – 26 Feb. 8:30 & 10am; Sycamore Canyon 10 Mar., 8:30am.
Our next program: Tuesday, 7 February, 7:30 pm – Owls of Southern California, presented by Lance Benner.
The usual reminders will be emailed from the blog.

As a reminder to those coming to our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk, it meets at the beach trail footbridge closest to the parking lot.

Links: Unusual birds at Malibu Lagoon
Aerial photo of Malibu Lagoon from 9/23/02.
Prior checklists: July-Dec’11, Jan-June’11, July-Dec ’10Jan-June ’10, Jul-Dec ‘09, and Jan-June ‘09.
[Chuck Almdale].

Malibu Census 2012 22-Jan
Temperature 50 – 59
Tide Height +6.49
Low/High &Time H:0803
Brant 1
Gadwall 31
American Wigeon 2
Mallard 23
Northern Shoveler 46
Northern Pintail 10
Green-winged Teal 37
Surf Scoter 14
Bufflehead 26
Red-brstd Merganser 6
Ruddy Duck 59
Pacific Loon 1
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Eared Grebe 4
Western Grebe 8
Brandt’s Cormorant 3
Dble-crstd Cormorant 37
Pelagic Cormorant 1
Brown Pelican 48
Great Blue Heron 7
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 7
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 2
Osprey 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Sora 2
American Coot 345
Blk-bellied Plover 65
Snowy Plover 81
Killdeer 2
Black Oystercatcher 5
American Avocet 2
Spotted Sandpiper 2
Willet 3
Whimbrel 1
Ruddy Turnstone 15
Sanderling 200
Least Sandpiper 12
Heermann’s Gull 16
Ring-billed Gull 150
Western Gull 120
California Gull 1900
Glaucous-wingd Gull 5
Royal Tern 16
Rock Pigeon 5
Mourning Dove 2
Anna’s Hummingbird 2
Allen’s Hummingbird 2
Belted Kingfisher 1
Black Phoebe 3
Say’s Phoebe 1
American Crow 4
Bushtit 26
Bewick’s Wren 1
Marsh Wren 1
Northern Mockingbird 1
European Starling 1
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 3
Common Yellowthroat 4
Spotted Towhee 1
Song Sparrow 2
White-crwnd Sparrow 22
Great-tailed Grackle 13
Brwn-headed Cowbird 2
House Finch 25
Totals by Type Jan
Waterfowl 255
Water Birds-Other 452
Herons, Egrets 18
Quail & Raptors 2
Shorebirds 388
Gulls & Terns 2207
Doves 7
Other Non-Pass. 5
Passerines 110
Totals Birds 3444
Total Species Jan
Waterfowl 11
Water Birds-Other 10
Herons, Egrets 4
Quail & Raptors 5
Shorebirds 11
Gulls & Terns 6
Doves 2
Other Non-Pass. 3
Passerines 16
Totals Species 65

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