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Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 23 March, 2014

March 25, 2014

BE SURE TO VISIT THE SLIDESHOW ON THE BLOG.

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Elegant Terns flying (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Elegant Terns flying (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Perhaps it was the shift to daylight savings time, forcing us to arrive an hour closer to dawn, but the gulls, terns, pelicans and cormorants were on the beach and in the lagoon, unlike the last four months when most were out to sea and beyond viewing distance. This pushed our total bird count up to 51% above the running 6-year average for March (82% above the 10-year average). As is usual for this time of year, the weather was cooperative – 62-70° with little wind – and the large group of birders had a good time. Oddly enough, we saw not a single raptor, whereas we’ve had 2-6 species per visit since last October.

We’ve got another nice collection of photos from Randy Ehler in the slideshow on the blog. Randy has become a regular attendee on our lagoon walks and he always has his camera, for which I am very grateful, as I am too busy spotting birds, pointing out birds, counting birds, answering questions and moving people along to even try to take a decent photo.

Brown Pelican dodging waves (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Brown Pelican dodging waves (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Birds new for the season were: Long-billed Dowitcher, Caspian Tern, Elegant Tern (135!), Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Scrub-Jay, Rough-winged & Barn Swallows, Savannah Sparrow, and Red-winged Blackbird. The hummer and the jay are both year-round residents, yet we somehow managed to miss them for the past few months. Red-wings usually hang out across the street at Legacy Park, where they’re close to the food court where they can snag fries and burger bits from unwary eaters. The Savannah Sparrows were on the beach, gleaning bugs and whatnot (a scientific term) from the high-tide wrack. The Townsend’s Warbler was gone, but the three Meadowlarks were still there, now 6-months long. May they now qualify for residency and get a green card?

Marbled Godwit admiring its own reflection (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Marbled Godwit admiring its own reflection (R. Ehler 3/23/14)

Our next three scheduled field trips: Wilson Canyon or Walker Ranch, 5 Apr, 8:30am; Paramount Ranch to Malibu Creek S.P. 1-way hike, 12 Mar, 8:00am; Malibu Lagoon, 27 Apr, 8:30 & 10am.
Our next program: Tuesday, 1 April, 7:30 pm. Urban Crows & predation on Least Terns: presented by Dr. Peter Auger.

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.

NOTE: WordPress (our blogsite host) recently did one of their periodic updates, following which many things won’t work properly for a while (or ever again in some cases). If this blog looks odd, blame them (or Canada, if you prefer).

Comments on Bird Lists Below

Total Birds: March total birds of 1564 is 51% above the 6-year Mar. average of 1034; for a change many gulls and pelicans were present as were many ducks, coots, and cormorants.
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%, Feb’14 -28%, Mar’14 +51%.
Species Diversity: March 2014 with 59 species was 6% above the 6-year Mar. average of 56.
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% Feb’14 +9%, Mar’14 +6%.
10-year comparison summaries are available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page.    [Chuck Almdale]
Note: Beginning July, we return to our pre-project bird list format, reporting the most recent 6-month period.

Malibu Census 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
March 2009-14 3/22 3/28 3/27 3/25 3/24 3/23
Temperature 50-60 70-80 54-61 51-54 60-75 62-70
Tide Lo/Hi Height H+4.8 H+5.48 L+0.05 H+3.64 H+4.90 L+.39
Tide Time 0728 0840 1216 1146 0806 1010 Birds
Gadwall 18 16 32 18 13 25 20.3
American Wigeon 4 14 3 31 8.7
Mallard 16 12 30 24 28 19 21.5
Cinnamon Teal 4 0.7
Northern Shoveler 2 8 18 2 5.0
Northern Pintail 1 5 1.0
Green-winged Teal 4 1 10 11 4 5.0
Lesser Scaup 1 0.2
Surf Scoter 10 18 8 5 6.8
Bufflehead 1 0.2
Red-brstd Merganser 3 1 4 2 12 7 4.8
Ruddy Duck 11 15 20 55 23 20.7
Red-throated Loon 2 2 0.7
Pacific Loon 5 15 3 1 4.0
Common Loon 1 1 1 0.5
Pied-billed Grebe 1 1 4 2 1.3
Horned Grebe 1 0.2
Eared Grebe 1 0.2
Western Grebe 12 27 20 1 22 13.7
Blk-vented Shearwater many 0.2
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 1 1 1 0.8
Dble-crstd Cormorant 36 42 90 30 15 45 43.0
Pelagic Cormorant 1 1 1 0.5
Brown Pelican 170 184 89 40 35 390 151
Great Blue Heron 1 2 1 1 2 1.2
Great Egret 2 1 1 1 2 1.2
Snowy Egret 10 7 5 12 5 8 7.8
Green Heron 1 0.2
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 1 0.2
Turkey Vulture 3 2 0.8
Osprey 1 0.2
Cooper’s Hawk 1 0.2
Red-shouldered Hawk 1 1 0.3
Red-tailed Hawk 2 2 2 1 1.2
Merlin 1 0.2
Virginia Rail 1 0.2
Sora 1 1 4 1.0
American Coot 85 92 153 20 170 104 104
Blk-bellied Plover 24 25 7 3 9.8
Snowy Plover 36 25 42 14 33 5 25.8
Killdeer 3 1 2 2 6 2.3
Black Oystercatcher 2 2 0.7
American Avocet 7 1.2
Spotted Sandpiper 1 1 1 1 1 1 1.0
Greater Yellowlegs 1 0.2
Willet 4 4 3 3 16 4 5.7
Whimbrel 3 1 18 28 5 9.2
Marbled Godwit 12 2 12 4 5.0
Ruddy Turnstone 12 2 2.3
Sanderling 6 1.0
Western Sandpiper 15 2 2.8
Least Sandpiper 2 14 20 20 9.3
Long-billed Dowitcher 5 0.8
Boneparte’s Gull 2 4 1.0
Heermann’s Gull 4 4 155 27.2
Ring-billed Gull 25 2 50 8 25 18 21.3
Western Gull 70 48 100 30 35 190 78.8
California Gull 180 27 1100 12 30 135 247
Herring Gull 1 0.2
Glaucous-wingd Gull 11 1 1 1 2.3
Caspian Tern 1 2 5 3 1 2.0
Forster’s Tern 1 0.2
Royal Tern 3 8 1.8
Elegant Tern 22 47 4 2 135 35.0
Black Skimmer 3 0.5
Rock Pigeon 4 4 2 25 4 6.5
Mourning Dove 2 2 0.7
Blk-hooded Parakeet 4 0.7
Anna’s Hummingbird 2 3 2 1 1 1.5
Rufous Hummingbird 1 0.2
Allen’s Hummingbird 2 3 4 5 4 3.0
Belted Kingfisher 1 1 1 0.5
Black Phoebe 6 6 12 5 8 6.2
Say’s Phoebe 1 1 0.3
Cassin’s Kingbird 1 0.2
Western Kingbird 2 2 16 3.3
Western Scrub-Jay 1 1 1 0.5
American Crow 6 4 6 3 8 6 5.5
Rough-wingd Swallow 30 3 2 6 12 20 12.2
Tree Swallow 8 1.3
Barn Swallow 1 1 12 2.3
Oak Titmouse 1 0.2
Bushtit 4 4 4 5 6 3.8
Bewick’s Wren 1 1 1 0.5
Northern Mockingbird 2 2 1 2 7 2.3
European Starling 20 8 16 15 9.8
Ornge-crwnd Warbler 7 1.2
Yellow-rumpd Warbler 2 5 8 1 18 5.7
Common Yellowthroat 2 1 3 1 4 1.8
Spotted Towhee 1 0.2
California Towhee 2 1 2 3 1.3
Savannah Sparrow 5 7 2.0
Song Sparrow 6 8 12 13 8 14 10.2
White-crwnd Sparrow 3 5 2 1.7
Red-winged Blackbird 2 6 2 12 3.7
Western Meadowlark 3 0.5
Brewer’s Blackbird 1 0.2
Great-tailed Grackle 7 4 1.8
Brwn-headed Cowbird 2 3 0.8
House Finch 4 6 20 19 2 11 10.3
Lesser Goldfinch 3 4 4 28 6.5
Totals by Type 3/22 3/28 3/27 3/25 3/24 3/23
Waterfowl 74 70 99 101 115 110 95
Water Birds-Other 307 354 376 91 234 566 321
Herons, Egrets 11 12 7 14 7 12 11
Raptors 3 2 6 0 6 0 3
Shorebirds 113 87 71 65 92 35 77
Gulls & Terns 313 133 1270 53 94 643 418
Doves 4 6 4 0 25 4 7
Other Non-Pass. 5 6 8 0 11 5 6
Passerines 91 53 94 62 89 189 96
Totals Birds 921 723 1935 386 673 1564 1034
  2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014  
Total Species 3/22 3/28 3/27 3/25 3/24 3/23
Waterfowl 11 7 6 8 6 7 7.5
Water Birds-Other 7 8 11 4 11 9 8.3
Herons, Egrets 2 4 3 3 3 3 3.0
Raptors 2 1 3 0 5 0 1.8
Shorebirds 12 9 7 7 6 9 8.3
Gulls & Terns 7 8 9 4 6 8 7.0
Doves 1 2 2 0 1 1 1.2
Other Non-Pass. 3 2 4 0 4 2 2.5
Passerines 15 14 18 9 19 20 15.8
Totals Species – 101
60 55 63 35 61 59 56

 

 

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