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Red-hot Egrets: Bolsa Chica report, 10 October, 2015

October 12, 2015

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Mad Dogs, crazy people and birders go out in triple digit sun, as we did at Bolsa Chica. We wore big hats and watched birds (particularly cormorants, herons and egrets) do gular fluttering and others panting. Hot!  Our group started with good intentions, but by the end were down to less than half  – all oblivious birders – who were trying to find one more bird!

Brown Pelican in winter (basic) plumage (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Brown Pelican in winter (basic) plumage (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Bolsa Chica** is an Ecological Reserve in Orange County, separated from the beach by Pacific Coast Highway. Our first exciting bird (not that the kamikaze diving pelicans and terns were not exciting) was a Ridgway’s Rail which emerged from under the bridge,

A new species for California - Ridgway's Rail!!! (formerly known as Clapper Rail) (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

A new species for California – Ridgway’s Rail!!! (formerly known as Clapper Rail)
(Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

wandered through the pickle weed and went south. We saw lots of Dowitchers bringing up the old question “Short-billed or Long-billed?” (we concluded both), Willets, Sparrows mostly variations of Savannah: Belding’s, Large-Billed and Common, and assorted other shorebirds, including impressive Long-Billed Curlews.

Beldings Savannah Sparrow is always found near pickleweed (Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Belding’s Savannah Sparrow is always found near pickleweed
(Kirsten Wahlquist 10/11/14)

Savannah Sparrow - the usual form (R. Hargraves 10/8/11)

Savannah Sparrow – the usual form (R. Hargraves 10/8/11)

 One of our favorites, the Reddish Heron,  was represented by one adult and one immature (sort of a pastel version of its parent) – neither was “dancing”; they too were enervated by the heat and did not move much. We saw a Great Blue Heron do a Yoga pose – its wings

Great Blue Heron, sunning, or perhaps downloading (C. Almdale 10/10/15)

Great Blue Heron, sunning, cooling, or perhaps downloading from ‘Twitcher’
(C. Almdale 10/10/15)

akimbo – sort of a fountain – very weird – as we said – Hot! Our best bird (well, mine) was a gorgeous Peregrine Falcon who cruised in over our heads and parked on a dead tree in full view of us and vice versa. It kept looking us over as if to see if we were edible.

 We had a decent list of birds – we were missing some favorites – few varieties of grebes for instance – and we may rethink the timing for next year – maybe when it may not be so HOT!!****

***More on Bolsa Chica:
I
t could mean “little pocket” or “small purse,” but also “small bag.” On the other hand,  Chica is often “girl” or “young woman”, while bolsa can be “bag,” “pocket,” “sack,” “purse,” etc., so it could mean “bag girl“, “pocket girl,” “sack girl.” Isn’t this fun? However, bolsa may also refer to a “market,” while chica is a diminutive adjective, so it could mean “small market.” Then again, it could mean “market girl,” or “young woman of the market.” As markets were usually “street markets”, maybe it means “young woman of the street” who may or may not be marketing something. What could she be marketing? Hmmm….Best to leave it there.**** 99° by the time we got back to the cars. [Editor]
Juvenile Reddish Egret (L) & Great Blue Heron (R) (C. Almdale 10/10/15)

Juvenile Reddish Egret (L) & Great Blue Heron (R) (C. Almdale 10/10/15)

Bolsa Chica Reserve 10/10 10/11 10/12 10/6
Trip List 2015 2014 2013 2012
Brant X X
American Wigeon X X X
Mallard X X
Blue-winged Teal X X
Cinnamon Teal X X
Northern Shoveler X X
Northern Pintail X X
Green-winged Teal X X
Redhead X
Lesser Scaup X X
Ruddy Duck X X X X
Pied-billed Grebe X X X X
Eared Grebe X X X X
Western Grebe X X
Brandt’s Cormorant X
Double-crested Cormorant X X X
American White Pelican X X X X
Brown Pelican X X X X
Great Blue Heron X X X X
Great Egret X X X X
Snowy Egret X X X X
Reddish Egret X X X X
Green Heron X
Black-crowned Night Heron X X X
White-faced Ibis X
Turkey Vulture X X X X
Osprey X X X X
White-tailed Kite X X
Northern Harrier X X X X
Red-tailed Hawk X X
Ridgway’s Rail X X
American Coot X X X X
Black-necked Stilt X
American Avocet X
Black-bellied Plover X X X X
Semipalmated Plover X X
Killdeer X X X
Greater Yellowlegs X X
Willet X X X X
Lesser Yellowlegs X
Whimbrel X X X
Long-billed Curlew X X X X
Marbled Godwit X X X X
Ruddy Turnstone X X X
Red Knot X X
Sanderling X X
Western Sandpiper X X X X
Least Sandpiper X X X X
Dunlin X X
Short-billed Dowitcher X X X X
Long-billed Dowitcher X
Ring-billed Gull X X X
Western Gull X X X X
California Gull X X
Black Tern X
Forster’s Tern X X X X
Royal Tern X
Elegant Tern X X X X
Rock Pigeon X X X X
Mourning Dove X X X
Anna’s Hummingbird X
Allen’s Hummingbird X X
Belted Kingfisher X X X X
Nuttall’s Woodpecker X
Downy Woodpecker X
American Kestrel X X X
Peregrine Falcon X X
Black Phoebe X X X X
Say’s Phoebe X X X X
Loggerhead Shrike X
American Crow X X X
Bushtit X
House Wren X X X
European Starling X X X
American Pipit X
Common Yellowthroat X X X X
Yellow-rumped Warbler X X
California Towhee X X
Savannah (Belding’s) Sparrow X X X
Savannah (Large-billed) Sparrow X
Savannah Sparrow X X X X
Song Sparrow X X
White-Crowned Sparrow X X X X
House Finch X X X X
Pine Siskin X
Total Species – 83 60 44 50 69
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