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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 24 November, 2013

November 26, 2013

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The Lagoon that is our monthly bird walk site seems to have fully recovered its attractiveness to various coastal bird species after a year’s restoration. Great Egrets, Snowy Egrets and Great Blue Herons were lined up on a bank, waiting for some of the ample supply of small fish to swim by. The numbers of birds were heartening also, with all areas of the lagoon well-populated and a gull flock that must have numbered over 2,000 a few hundred meters off Surfrider Beach’s first point. (This is not included in our count since we were unable to ascertain species.)

Osprey between meals (Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

Osprey between meals (Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

We were also treated to a few unusual visitors: a Cackling Goose which fit to a T the Sibley Guide drawing of the Aleutian form Cackling Goose; a group of 1 male and 3 female or juvenile Redhead; a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher; plus a Townsend’s Warbler for the second month in a row. As we finished our count we were able to share our good results with visiting Supervisor Craig Sap of the Angeles District of State Parks, who was probably admiring his organization’s handiwork.  [Lucien Plauzoles]

Redhead with a few Snowy Egrets looking on (Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

Redhead swims as Snowy Egrets watch
(Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

The Redhead is not a common duck in the lagoon, as in SoCal they generally prefer fresh water. We’ve recorded their presence only 10 times since 1979, for a total of 25 birds, with 6 birds on 2/14/82 as the record.

Birds new for the season were: Cackling Goose, Redhead, Bufflehead, Horned Grebe, Osprey, Cooper’s Hawk, Boneparte’s Gull, and Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Got one! (Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

Great Egret nabs a fish on the inundated winter tidal ramp
(Randy Ehler 11/24/13)

Our next three scheduled field trips:  Butterbredt Spring Christmas Count 14 Dec 8:30am; Malibu Lagoon, 22 Dec, 8:30 & 10am; Carrizo Plain, 28 Dec, 6:45am.
Our next program:  Tuesday, 4 Feb., 7:30 pm. Urban Bobcats III, presented by Laurel Serieys.

NOTE: Our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk meets at the shaded viewing area.

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.

Comments on Bird Lists Below
Total Birds:
   November total birds of 514 is 58% below the 6-year Nov. average, due primarily to the absence of gulls and terns which were offshore by the thousands but too distant to determine species. Sandpipers were also several hundred birds below average.
Summary of total birds from the 6-year average so far:  Jun’12 +36%, Jul’12 -9%, Aug’12 -9%, Sep’12 +12%, Oct’12 +3%, Nov’12 -5%, Dec’12 +30%, Jan’13 -20%, Feb’13 -29%, Mar’13 -30%, Apr’13 -34%, May’13 -37%, Jun’13 -24%, Jul’13 +83%, Aug’13 +37%, Sep’13 +23%, Oct’13 +41%, Nov’13 -58%.
Species Diversity:  November 2013 with 58 species was slightly below (-3%) the 6-year average of 60.
Summary of species diversity from the 6-year average so far:  Jun’12 -10%, Jul’12 +10%, Aug’12. -6%, Sep’12 -20%, Oct’12 +5%, Nov’12 +2%, Dec’12 -4%, Jan’13 +2%, Feb’13 -8%, Mar’13 +9%, Apr’13 -2%, May’13 +3%, Jun’13 +13%, Jul’13 0%, Aug’13 +11%, Sep’13 -14%, Oct’13 +19%, Nov’13 -3%.
10-year comparison summaries are available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page.   [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013  
November 2008-13 11/23 11/22 11/28 11/27 11/25 11/24  
Temperature 50-61 60-72 55-65 68-72 60-62 62-70
Tide Lo/Hi Height H+5.8 H+4.6 L+2.59 H+6.63 H+5.83 L+3.14 Ave.
Tide Time 0608 1137 0842 0945 0647 0741 Birds
Snow Goose 1 0.2
Brant 1 0.2
Cackling Goose 1 0.2
Canada Goose 9 1.5
Gadwall 35 7 6 4 12 19 13.8
American Wigeon 15 6 14 15 9 4 10.5
Mallard 22 15 18 30 18 12 19.2
Northern Shoveler 12 5 10 10 18 8 10.5
Green-winged Teal 6 7 4 3 3.3
Redhead 4 0.7
Lesser Scaup 8 1 1.5
Surf Scoter 24 15 6.5
Bufflehead 8 5 6 8 3 3 5.5
Red-brstd Merganser 2 1 5 9 7 11 5.8
Ruddy Duck 25 20 26 3 48 20 23.7
Red-throated Loon 7 1.2
Pacific Loon 1 1 10 2.0
Common Loon 1 1 1 0.5
Pied-billed Grebe 6 5 2 1 4 1 3.2
Horned Grebe 1 1 0.3
Red-necked Grebe 1 0.2
Eared Grebe 6 6 4 3 3.2
Western Grebe 20 15 16 6 27 2 14.3
Brandt’s Cormorant 10 2 2 6 3.3
Dble-crstd Cormorant 25 29 37 31 24 18 27.3
Pelagic Cormorant 1 1 1 1 1 0.8
Brown Pelican 18 12 40 8 32 20 21.7
Great Blue Heron 6 3 7 2 2 2 3.7
Great Egret 1 1 4 3 1 8 3.0
Snowy Egret 4 8 31 30 10 20 17.2
Cattle Egret 1 0.2
Green Heron 1 0.2
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 5 1 8 1 2 2.8
Osprey 1 1 0.3
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1 1 0.5
Red-tailed Hawk 2 1 2 0.8
American Kestrel 1 1 0.3
Merlin 1 0.2
Virginia Rail 1 1 1 0.5
Sora 2 6 7 3 3.0
American Coot 85 295 206 57 194 80 152.8
Blk-bellied Plover 24 89 110 263 217 44 124.5
Snowy Plover 54 48 58 52 61 33 51.0
Killdeer 4 3 5 5 11 3 5.2
Spotted Sandpiper 1 2 2 2 2 2 1.8
Willet 12 18 2 4 34 20 15.0
Whimbrel 3 5 2 1 12 3.8
Marbled Godwit 8 14 31 4 9.5
Ruddy Turnstone 32 13 13 1 5 2 11.0
Black Turnstone 8 1 1.5
Sanderling 58 155 290 308 11 137.0
Least Sandpiper 1 7 15 21 4 8.0
Boneparte’s Gull 2 5 1 3 1.8
Heermann’s Gull 35 13 37 21 2 18.0
Mew Gull 1 0.2
Ring-billed Gull 18 50 800 60 25 20 162.2
Western Gull 68 67 130 50 55 61.7
California Gull 63 58 500 30 215 2 144.7
Herring Gull 1 1 0.3
Glaucous-wingd Gull 1 1 1 0.5
Forster’s Tern 2 5 2 14 1 4.0
Royal Tern 2 2 3 1.2
Elegant Tern 1 1 0.3
Rock Pigeon 5 6 6 38 9.2
Mourning Dove 6 3 2 1.8
Anna’s Hummingbird 4 3 2 1 1.7
Allen’s Hummingbird 1 2 1 3 1 1.3
Belted Kingfisher 2 1 1 1 1 1 1.2
Black Phoebe 6 6 6 5 5 4 5.3
Say’s Phoebe 1 1 1 2 1 1.0
Western Scrub-Jay 1 0.2
American Crow 6 6 3 4 5 2 4.3
Common Raven 1 0.2
Tree Swallow 1 1 0.3
Bushtit 22 40 30 30 20.3
Bewick’s Wren 1 1 1 0.5
House Wren 1 2 0.5
Marsh Wren 1 1 1 0.5
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1 0.2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1 1 0.3
Northern Mockingbird 1 1 1 1 2 3 1.5
European Starling 5 6 40 7 9.7
Ornge-crwnd Warbler 3 0.5
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 12 6 8 2 12 60 16.7
Townsend’s Warbler 1 0.2
Common Yellowthroat 4 5 5 4 3 2 3.8
California Towhee 2 2 0.7
Song Sparrow 2 4 2 3 4 2.5
White-crwnd Sparrow 4 8 15 4.5
Western Meadowlark 3 0.5
Great-tailed Grackle 3 1 4 7 4 3.2
House Finch 5 6 4 30 5 2 8.7
Lesser Goldfinch 2 2 3 6 2.2
Totals by Type 11/23 11/22 11/28 11/27 11/25 11/25 Ave.
Waterfowl 151 65 108 92 120 82 103
Water Birds-Other 170 367 319 115 309 126 234
Herons, Egrets 16 13 51 36 14 32 27
Raptors 1 3 3 1 1 4 2
Shorebirds 205 347 490 650 394 124 368
Gulls & Terns 191 190 1481 143 335 29 395
Doves 11 9 8 0 38 0 11
Other Non-Pass. 3 7 5 3 5 2 4
Passerines 67 92 37 134 84 115 88
Totals Birds 815 1093 2502 1174 1300 514 1233
  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Total Species 11/23 11/22 11/28 11/27 11/25 11/25 Ave.
Waterfowl 9 8 10 9 10 9 9.2
Water Birds-Other 11 10 12 9 10 8 10.0
Herons, Egrets 4 4 5 4 4 4 4.2
Raptors 1 2 3 1 1 3 1.8
Shorebirds 11 9 10 8 10 9 9.5
Gulls & Terns 8 6 9 5 8 6 7.0
Doves 2 2 2 0 1 0 1.2
Other Non-Pass. 2 3 3 2 3 2 2.5
Passerines 13 15 13 13 15 17 14.3
Totals Species – 93
61 59 67 51 62 58 59.7

 

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