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Malibu Lagoon Field Trip Report: 26 January, 2014

January 28, 2014

On an overcast day, the assembled birders were treated to a raptor show within the first half hour of our monthly walk at Malibu. A Merlin perched on a sycamore long enough for our expert Jim Kenney to snap his portrait.

Merlin (J. Kenney 1/26/14)

Merlin (J. Kenney 1/26/14)

Soon after, the Peregrine Falcon, reported earlier by other birders at nearby Legacy Park, scattered the gulls in the lagoon as he made a quick pass at the available food supply. After the group took a long look at the ducks and coots from the east observation deck, we were stopped along the wall to the private golf course by an Osprey and a Red-shouldered Hawk perched only a few feet from each other in one of the tall sycamores. Who needs more excitement? Our only “miss” was the White-tailed Kite. Our two unusual sightings for the day were a male Redhead seen under the bridge and a Hermit Thrush that re-appeared a number of times on one of the Malibu Colony fences.

Birds new for the season were: Black-vented Shearwater; Herring & Glaucous-winged Gulls; Cassin’s Kingbird; Hermit Thrush and (gasp!) House Sparrow. We rarely see House Sparrow at the lagoon although they’re all over the shopping area across the highway.

Our next three scheduled field trips:  San Jacinto Wildlife Refuge (Riverside County), 15 Feb, 8:30am; Malibu Lagoon, 23 Feb, 8:30 & 10am; Hiker Lu’s Santa Monica Mountains adventure, 8 Mar, 8:30am.
Our next program:  Tuesday, 4 Mar., 7:30 pm. Antarctica: your next shopping destination, presented by Chuck Bragg.

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:
   January total birds of 834 is 62% below the 6-year Jan. average, due primarily to the absence of gulls and terns scattered by the Peregrine Falcon before they were counted.
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%, Dec’13 -49%, Jan’14 -62%.
Species Diversity:  January 2014 with 63 species was slightly below (-2%) the 6-year average of 64.2.
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%, Dec’13 -6%, Jan’14 -2%.
10-year comparison summaries are available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page.    [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014  
January 2009 – 14 1/25 1/24 1/23 1/22 1/27 1/26  
Temperature 53-57 41-65 68-75 50-59 52-62 58-68  
Tide Lo/Hi Height H+5.9 L+0.65 H+4.94 H+6.49 H+5.76 L-0.17 Ave.
Tide Time 0814 1131 1117 0803 0849 1224 Birds
Brant       1     0.2
Gadwall 15 20 15 31 34 21 22.7
American Wigeon 10 12   2 7 11 7.0
Mallard 18 10 24 23 45 10 21.7
Northern Shoveler 16 4 4 46 22 15 17.8
Northern Pintail       10 4   2.3
Green-winged Teal 14 7 12 37 19 17 17.7
Redhead           1 0.2
Lesser Scaup   1         0.2
Surf Scoter 12 35   14 15   12.7
Long-tailed Duck   1         0.2
Bufflehead 11 6 5 26 10 10 11.3
Red-brstd Merganser 4 8 6 6 6 1 5.2
Ruddy Duck 20 30 40 59 55 51 42.5
Red-throated Loon   1     2   0.5
Pacific Loon 1 1 1 1 5   1.5
Common Loon   1       2 0.5
Pied-billed Grebe 1 1 3 3 2 2 2.0
Horned Grebe 1 1 1   2   0.8
Eared Grebe   3 3 4 7 1 3.0
Western Grebe 23 15 6 8 46   16.3
Blk-vented Shearwater         200 55 42.5
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 1   3 7 2 2.5
Dble-crstd Cormorant 30 42 57 37 33 50 41.5
Pelagic Cormorant 1   4 1 2   1.3
Brown Pelican 256 35 42 48 73 100 92.3
Great Blue Heron 4 2 2 7 4 1 3.3
Great Egret 2 3 1 2   2 1.7
Snowy Egret 8 15 8 7 9 8 9.2
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 1     2     0.5
Osprey     1 1 1 1 0.7
Cooper’s Hawk         1   0.2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 1   1   2 0.8
Red-tailed Hawk   1 1   1 2 0.8
Merlin           1 0.2
Peregrine Falcon   2       1 0.5
Virginia Rail     1       0.2
Sora 1 1 4 2     1.3
American Coot 180 284 145 345 270 60 214
Blk-bellied Plover 38 45 1 65 62   35.2
Snowy Plover 42 54 60 81 61 45 57.2
Killdeer 1 4 3 2 2 2 2.3
Black Oystercatcher   2   5     1.2
American Avocet 4 2 4 2 3   2.5
Spotted Sandpiper 1 4 2 2 3 3 2.5
Willet 10 15 1 3 7 10 7.7
Whimbrel 2 2 1 1 3 1 1.7
Marbled Godwit 12 4     15 11 7.0
Ruddy Turnstone 9 13   15 10 1 8.0
Sanderling 60 85   200 17 26 64.7
Least Sandpiper 2 21 10 12     7.5
Boneparte’s Gull           2 0.3
Heermann’s Gull 46 5 62 16 12 2 23.8
Mew Gull         2   0.3
Ring-billed Gull 180 55 120 150 90 4 99.8
Western Gull 125 45 100 120 75 46 85.2
California Gull 450 875 2500 1900 480 120 1054
Herring Gull     1   1 1 0.5
Glaucous-wingd Gull 6 6 2 5 1 3 3.8
Forster’s Tern   1         0.2
Royal Tern 4 12   16 2 1 5.8
Elegant Tern   1         0.2
Black Skimmer 30 6         6.0
Rock Pigeon 8 8 5 5 8 5 6.5
Mourning Dove 2 2 2 2     1.3
Blk-hooded Parakeet 6           1.0
Anna’s Hummingbird 2 3 3 2 1   1.8
Allen’s Hummingbird 4 2 6 2 5 2 3.5
Belted Kingfisher     1 1 1   0.5
Black Phoebe 8 4 4 3 4 5 4.7
Say’s Phoebe 1 1 1 1   3 1.2
Western Scrub-Jay         1   0.2
American Crow 10 5 6 4 3 11 6.5
Tree Swallow     8       1.3
Barn Swallow     1       0.2
Oak Titmouse         2   0.3
Bushtit 5 4 9 26   20 10.7
Bewick’s Wren   2 2 1 1   1.0
House Wren     1     1 0.3
Marsh Wren       1     0.2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 1       3 2 1.0
Hermit Thrush           2 0.3
Northern Mockingbird 1 2 1 1 2 2 1.5
European Starling 60 35   1 22   19.7
Ornge-crwnd Warbler 2         1 0.5
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 10 8 6 3 14 30 11.8
Common Yellowthroat 1 3 4 4 3 2 2.8
Spotted Towhee 1 1   1   2 0.8
California Towhee 4 2     1 2 1.5
Savannah Sparrow         2   0.3
Song Sparrow 6 3 8 2 8 3 5.0
White-crwnd Sparrow 5   4 22 6 6 7.2
Red-winged Blackbird   3 1       0.7
Great-tailed Grackle   1 1 13   3 3.0
Brwn-headed Cowbird       2     0.3
House Finch 8 12 5 25 2 6 9.7
Lesser Goldfinch 2 4     1 8 2.5
American Goldfinch     8       1.3
House Sparrow           12 2.0
Totals by Type 1/25 1/24 1/23 1/22 1/27 1/26 Ave.
Waterfowl 120 134 106 255 217 137 162
Water Birds-Other 496 386 267 452 649 272 420
Herons, Egrets 15 20 11 18 13 11 15
Raptors 1 4 2 2 3 7 3
Shorebirds 181 251 82 388 183 99 197
Gulls & Terns 841 1006 2785 2207 663 179 1280
Doves 10 10 7 7 8 5 8
Other Non-Pass. 12 5 10 5 7 2 7
Passerines 125 90 70 110 75 122 99
Totals Birds 1801 1906 3340 3444 1818 834 2191
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014  
Total Species 1/25 1/24 1/23 1/22 1/27 1/26 Ave.
Waterfowl 9 11 7 11 10 9 9.5
Water Birds-Other 10 12 11 10 12 8 10.5
Herons, Egrets 4 3 3 4 2 3 3.2
Raptors 1 3 2 2 3 5 2.7
Shorebirds 11 12 8 11 10 8 10.0
Gulls & Terns 7 9 6 6 8 8 7.3
Doves 2 2 2 2 1 1 1.7
Other Non-Pass. 3 2 3 3 3 1 2.5
Passerines 16 16 17 16 16 20 16.8
Totals Species – 99 63 70 59 65 65 63 64
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