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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 22 April, 2012

April 26, 2012

We lead off with a couple of great photos from Joyce Waterman.

Killdeer chick, a little unsteady. (J.Waterman 4/21/12)

This Killdeer chick was photographed on Saturday, the day before our monthly lagoon walk.   It was inland of the Snowy Plover enclosure, in the same location where the adult Killdeer were photographed (see below) the following day, and where we found a Killdeer nest last year.   This next shot makes me think of the Secretary-Bird of the African veldt.

Killdeer chick, as leggy as a Secretary-Bird (J.Waterman 4/21/12)

Today was Earth Day, kept cool by the morning fog.  It was nice to see so many caring people out on the beach, picking up trash.  But this ‘celebration’ really works only when people carry their concern over into daily life.  So think about: reducing water waste, fewer flushes, reduce driving, reduce driving speeds.  When I drive the speed limit on the freeway and many dozens of cars pass me every minute and I pass no one except semis, I have to think that the price of gasoline is still far too low.  At today’s prices, the EPA says that every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph costs you 31¢ per gallon.  Slow down: reduce frustration, save fuel, save lives.

Lagoon flock front to rear: Elegant & Caspian Terns, California & Western Gulls, American Coot, & Black-necked in left center. (Lee Huniu 4/22/12)

Time marches on.  Birds come and go.  The elegantly crested Elegant and Caspian Tern numbers grew with each passing minute.  A beautifully plumaged Sora appeared all ready to breed somewhere, perhaps right here.  The gulls and terns weren’t waiting: we frequently saw them (ahem) standing atop one another; perhaps it was to admire the view.  A small flock of Western Sandpipers appeared out of nowhere.  A Peregrine Falconshot through, sending the birds up in a cloud of wings.

With “eyebrows” much like some of our older chapter members, this Double-crested Cormorant displays the crests for which it was named. (J.Kenney 4/26/12)

Three Semipalmated Plovers – absent  since last August’s southerly migrants passed through – were on the mud.  A Pacific Loon in alternate plumage repeatedly dove out past the kelp and surf zone.  On the outer rocks, two Black Turnstones braved the over-breaking waves.  In the reeds and trees, Red-winged Blackbirds ground out their songs and displayed their bright red epaulets.  Nearby, Great-tailed Grackles bowed and tail-pointed, while a pair of Brown-headed Cowbirds waited patiently for someone – anyone! – to get on the stick and build a nest so they could dump their eggs into it.  Four Black-necked Stilts – on their 6th visit in 32 years –rested, fed and rested again.

Deer footprint in beach sand (Lee Huniu 4/22/12)

Just after finding a deer footprint in the damp sand – something I don’t recall previously seeing – we spotted four actual deer inland of the highway bridge on the east side of the creek.  They wandered back and forth for a few minutes, then disappeared into the brush.

Killdeer inspects us. (Lee Huniu 4/22/12)

This Killdeer patrolled the sand between the lagoon and the Snowy Plover enclosure.  It was probably keeping such a close eye on us because its chick was nearby, unbeknownst to us at the time.  This is where we found a Killdeer nest last year.

The Killdeer shows us his new tail (Lee Huniu 4/22/12)

The Snowy Plover Enclosure was doing fine, although the 3 remaining Snowies chose not to utilize it today.  There were plenty of footprints – dog and human – inside it, plus wrack and growing vegetation, so it wasn’t because they couldn’t find any little depressions to lounge in.   Besides, they can scrape them out themselves without much effort, should they choose to do so.

A sizable group of Cub “Webelo” Scouts showed up, to our surprise, with many parents in tow, so the “parents & kids” leaders showed them around.  [We encourage organizers to please let us know they’re coming so that we’re here to meet them.]  We received this note from Cub Scout Stanley Funnell:

“On Sunday, April 22nd 2012 my Boy Scout den and I went to Malibu Lagoon State Park to go birdwatching.   The experience was great, such friendly people and they gave me information that is treasured in the databanks of my brain.   Some of the birds I saw were the Snowy Plover, Ruddy Duck and American Coot.   I also saw new birds such as the Ruddy Turnstone and the Caspian Tern.   I hope to return to birdwatch at the Lagoon again.   Thank you guides for teaching me more about ornithology.” —  With thanks,Stanley Funnell

Our next three field trips:   Solstice Canyon 12 May, 8 am;   Malibu Lagoon, 27 May, 8:30 & 10 am;   Mt. Piños Birds & Butterflies, June 16-17, 8 am.
Our next program: Tuesday, 1 May, 7:30 pm – Alaska, presented by Guy Commeau.   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

26-Feb

25-Mar

22-Apr

Temperature

68-75

48-64

54-61

60-65

Tide Height

+6.49

+3.37

+3.64

+3.67

Low/High &Time

H:0803

H:1136

H:1146

H:1106

Snow Goose 1
Brant 1
Gadwall 31 35 18 14
American Wigeon 2 8 3 9
Mallard 23 30 24 16
Northern Shoveler 46 35 18 12
Northern Pintail 10 8 5
Green-winged Teal 37 38 11
Surf Scoter 14 40
Bufflehead 26 4
Red-brstd Merganser 6 8 2 5
Ruddy Duck 59 24 20 9
Red-throated Loon 2
Pacific Loon 1 3 3
Common Loon 1
Pied-billed Grebe 3 2 2
Eared Grebe 4 2 2
Western Grebe 8 40 1
Brandt’s Cormorant 3 15 1 1
Dble-crstd Cormorant 37 28 30 65
Pelagic Cormorant 1 2
Brown Pelican 48 12 40 80
Great Blue Heron 7 1
Great Egret 2 2 1 2
Snowy Egret 7 8 12 9
Green Heron 1
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 2 1
Osprey 1
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 2
Peregrine Falcon 1
Sora 2 3 1
American Coot 345 285 20 95
Blk-bellied Plover 65 93 7 11
Snowy Plover 81 54 14 3
Semipalmated Plover 3
Killdeer 2 10 4
Black Oystercatcher 5 2
Black-necked Stilt 4
American Avocet 2 1
Spotted Sandpiper 2 1 1
Willet 3 3
Whimbrel 1 2 18 5
Marbled Godwit 2 8
Ruddy Turnstone 15 13 1
Black Turnstone 2
Sanderling 200 100
Western Sandpiper 16
Least Sandpiper 12 20 5
Boneparte’s Gull 2
Heermann’s Gull 16 1
Ring-billed Gull 150 35 8 20
Western Gull 120 55 30 85
California Gull 1900 360 12 75
Glaucous-wingd Gull 5 2 1
Caspian Tern 3 25
Forster’s Tern 1
Royal Tern 16 1
Elegant Tern 65
Rock Pigeon 5 4 3
Mourning Dove 2 2 2
Anna’s Hummingbird 2 2 2
Allen’s Hummingbird 2 1 2
Belted Kingfisher 1 1
Black Phoebe 3 4 4
Say’s Phoebe 1
Cassin’s Kingbird 2
Western Kingbird 16
American Crow 4 8 3 5
Rough-wingd Swallow 2 6 6
Barn Swallow 1
Bushtit 26 4 2
Bewick’s Wren 1 1
Marsh Wren 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
Hermit Thrush 1
Northern Mockingbird 1 2 2
European Starling 1 15 4
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 3 1
Common Yellowthroat 4 2 1 3
Spotted Towhee 1 1
California Towhee 2
Savannah Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 2 8 13 8
White-crwnd Sparrow 22 4
Red-winged Blackbird 15 2 6
Brewer’s Blackbird 1
Great-tailed Grackle 13 8 8
Brwn-headed Cowbird 2 2
House Finch 25 10 19 6
Lesser Goldfinch 2
       
Totals by Type Jan Feb Mar Apr
Waterfowl 255 231 101 65
Water Birds-Other 452 395 91 250
Herons, Egrets 18 10 14 13
Quail & Raptors 2 2 0 1
Shorebirds 388 275 65 63
Gulls & Terns 2207 455 53 272
Doves 7 6 0 5
Other Non-Pass. 5 4 0 4
Passerines 110 92 62 60
Totals Birds 3444 1470 386 733
         
Total Species Jan Feb Mar Apr
Waterfowl 11 11 8 6
Water Birds-Other 10 12 4 9
Herons, Egrets 4 2 3 4
Quail & Raptors 2 1 0 1
Shorebirds 11 8 7 12
Gulls & Terns 6 7 4 7
Doves 2 2 0 2
Other Non-Pass. 3 3 0 2
Passerines 16 18 9 15
Totals Species – 90 65 64 35 58
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