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Hot! Malibu Lagoon, September 25, 2016

September 27, 2016
Pelagic Cormorant (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Pelagic Cormorant shows them how to surf (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Clear and sunny t’was the morn, but by 11:30 am, it was 96°F (35.6°C elsewhere).  That’s hot, especially for the breezy shores of Malibu. Birders were dropping out before we reached the beach. I carried water and needed it. Hey! Global warming deniers! This is the future, and it’s your grandkids who will be suffering. I don’t have any. Did I say it was hot?

Brant (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Brant (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

More birds and more species appear as we inch into the fall, with sixteen species we haven’t seen in three or more months. The Brant continues – present seven out of the last eight months. We hadn’t seen Anna’s Hummingbird since June, which is

Belted Kingfisher on PCH Bridge (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Belted Kingfisher on PCH Bridge (R Ehler 9-25-16)

very strange, as they are permanent residents. Anna’s local populations have declined (it seems to me) while the sedentarius subspecies of Allen’s Hummingbird, continues to increase. Over at Adamson House I found a Pacific-slope Flycatcher, busily flicking his tail and shagging flies from a twiggy brush under a large palm overhanging the easternmost baylet of the lagoon.

Dancing Great Blue Herons (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Great Blue Herons danced their way from the island down to the lagoon
(R Ehler 9-25-16)

Gull, tern and pelican numbers were low; September is often a low month for these species, but it was lower than usual, with one Brown Pelican and a mere 54 gulls and terns, consisting mostly of Western Gulls. We had seen a Marsh Wren in the reeds by the pavilion a week ago during the coastal cleanup, but missed it today.

Marsh Wren visits again (J. Waterman 9-17-16)

Marsh Wren visits again
(J. Waterman 9-17-16)

The Snowy Plover roosting colony continues to grow: 35 birds (per Chris Lord) with banded bird AA:BL continuing from last month. Grace Murayama has also reported sightings of GA:OY and newcomer RR:BB – banded at Oceano Dunes, Summer 2016 – from 9-22-16. We don’t have banding information on RR:BB yet. Continuing to grow is our word-in-progress slide show of banded Snowy Plovers sighted in Los Angeles. Look for it here.

Los Angeles Times/US higher education writer, Teresa Watanabe joined our walk, and stuck it out to the last Snowy Plover on the beach, despite the heat. I don’t know what she learned, but come againm Teresa – the weather will cool, I promise (knock on MDF particle board wood).

Whimbrel (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Whimbrel (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Slightly farther afield, I stopped by Zuma beach after leaving the lagoon to see if any Snowy Plovers were at their old stomping grounds near lifeguard station #10. Since the mid-90’s, when we began censusing the local Snowy population on behalf of Pt. Reyes Bird Observatory (now Point Blue), this has traditionally been the largest winter roosting colony in Los Angeles. I was alarmed when I recently heard

Snowy Plover GA:OY (B. Crowe 9-25-16)

Snowy Plover GA:OY on Surfrider Beach (B. Crowe 9-20-16)

that the Snowy population on Zuma had fallen drastically. When Frances at Point Blue advised me that local birder Bill Crowe had reported 22 birds on 9-20-16 from that location, I decided to take a look. I found only 9, but it was about noon on this very hot day, and the location swarmed with people. Pavilions with smoking barbeques, roasting weenies and simmering sunbathers were everywhere. Three groups of people lay on towels within ten yards of the poor plovers. There’s only about 2500 Western Snowy Plovers left in existence, and it’s heartbreaking to see them so beleaguered and ignored. We really need to get some area here roped off. It need not be huge: 100 yards would be good, 200 would be better. That’s insignificant on a beach that is miles long.

Northern Shoveler female (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Northern Shoveler female (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Long-billed Dowitcher (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Long-billed Dowitcher
(R Ehler 9-25-16)

Birds new for the season were: American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitcher, Anna’s Hummingbird, Peregrine Falcon, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Say’s Phoebe, Bewick’s Wren, Wilson’s Warbler, Savannah Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Western Meadowlark, Lesser Goldfinch.

Marbled Godwit (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

Marbled Godwit (G. Murayama 9-11-16)

As always, many thanks to our photographers: Chuck Bragg, Bill Crowe, Jeffrey Davidson, Randy Ehler, Larry Loeher, Grace Murayama, and Joyce Waterman.

Osprey searches for fish (J. Davidson 9-25-16)

Osprey searches for fish (J. Davidson 9-25-16)

Common Yellowthroat singing (Chuck Bragg 2-28-16)

Common Yellowthroat singing
(Chuck Bragg 2-28-16)

Our next three scheduled field trips:  Bolsa Chica, 8 Oct 8:30am; Malibu Lagoon 8:30 & 10am, 23 Oct; Ballona Creek, 19 Nov 8:30am.

Our next program: Roadrunners with Mark Mendelsohn, Tuesday, 4 Oct, 7:30 pm; Chris Reed Park, 1133 7th St., NE corner of 7th and Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.

NOTE: Our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk meets at the shaded viewpoint just south of the parking area. Watch for Willie the Weasel. He’ll be watching for you and your big floppy feet.

Black Phoebe scouts for a fly (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Black Phoebe scouts for a fly (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Links: Unusual birds at Malibu Lagoon
9/23/02 Aerial photo of Malibu Lagoon
Prior checklists:
2016:   Jan-June                          2015:   Jan-May,    July-Dec
2014:   Jan-July,    July-Dec
     2013:   Jan-June,   July-Dec
2012:   Jan-June,   July-Dec
    2011:   Jan-June,   July-Dec
2010:  Jan-June,   July-Dec
     2009:  Jan-June  July-Dec

Northern Pintail trio (R Ehler 9-25-16)

Northern Pintail trio (R Ehler 9-25-16)

The 10-year comparison summaries created during the project period, despite numerous complaints, remain available on our Lagoon Project Bird Census Page. Very briefly summarized, the results unexpectedly indicate that avian species diversification and numbers improved slightly during the period Jun’12-June’14.     [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2016 4/24 5/22 6/26 7/24 8/28 9/25
Temperature 60-67 61-66 68-72 68-76 65-73 70-96
Tide Lo/Hi Height H+3.63 H+3.69 L+0.32 L+0.20 H+4.28 H+4.39
Tide Time 1143 1101 0831 0707 0810 0708
Brant 1 2 1 1 1
Gadwall 4 8 18 10 6
American Wigeon 1
Mallard 18 4 30 25 24 35
Northern Shoveler 6
Northern Pintail 4
Green-winged Teal 2
Red-brstd Merganser 1 1
Pied-billed Grebe 1 2 4 15
Western Grebe 1
Blk-vented Shearwater 200
Brandt’s Cormorant 2 3
Dble-crstd Cormorant 23 7 35 18 34 38
Pelagic Cormorant 2
Brown Pelican 77 14 94 39 9 1
Great Blue Heron 2 3 3 3 6
Great Egret 2 1 7 4 1 1
Snowy Egret 4 2 6 8 3 8
Blk-crwnd N-Heron 2
Turkey Vulture 2
Osprey 1 1 2 1 2
Cooper’s Hawk 2
Red-tailed Hawk 1
American Coot 4 2 10 95
Black-necked Stilt 19
Blk-bellied Plover 20 6 6 60 70 75
Snowy Plover 12 24 35
Semipalmated Plover 8 4 8 5
Killdeer 2 6 8 6 9 29
Spotted Sandpiper 1 3 5 2
Greater Yellowlegs 1
Willet 10 16 11 30 2 10
Whimbrel 2 16 2 1
Marbled Godwit 6 1 4
Ruddy Turnstone 5 9 3
Sanderling 5 22
Dunlin 1
Baird’s Sandpiper 5
Least Sandpiper 7 15 2 4
Western Sandpiper 1 1 7 6 3
Long-billed Dowitcher 1
Common Murre 3
Bonaparte’s Gull 3
Heermann’s Gull 8 130 12 4 6
Ring-billed Gull 1 26 1
Western Gull 60 23 120 45 118 45
California Gull 15 3 3 1
Glaucous-wingd Gull 1
Least Tern 2
Caspian Tern 19 9 11 2 2
Common Tern 1
Forster’s Tern 1 3
Royal Tern 2 48 5 3 10 1
Elegant Tern 1800 10 110 10 67 2
Rock Pigeon 6 1 23 4 8 17
Mourning Dove 1 2 2 2 2
Anna’s Hummingbird 3 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 4 2 1 5 5 1
Belted Kingfisher 1 2 2
American Kestrel 1 1 1
Peregrine Falcon 1
Pac.-slope Flycatcher 1
Black Phoebe 4 1 2 7 3 9
Say’s Phoebe 2
Ash-throated Flycatcher 2
Western Kingbird 1
California Scrub-Jay 2 1 1 3 2
American Crow 4 4 6 3 5 7
Common Raven 1
Violet-green Swallow 1
Rough-wingd Swallow 10 6 6 4 4
Cliff Swallow 6 4 7 15 4
Barn Swallow 4 4 20 20 20
Oak Titmouse 1
Bushtit 4 2 15 5 27
Bewick’s Wren 1 1
American Robin 1 1
Northern Mockingbird 6 2 2 2 2 3
European Starling 2 2 10 40 20 17
Ornge-crwnd Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 1 1 4 3 6
Wilson’s Warbler 1
Spotted Towhee 1 1
California Towhee 3 1 2
Savannah Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow 14 2 3 3 2 6
White-crwnd Sparrow 2
Black-headed Grosbeak 1
Red-winged Blackbird 5 4 15 12 30 1
Western Meadowlark 2 16
Brewer’s Blackbird 6 12
Great-tailed Grackle 3 3 4 20 3 2
Brwn-headed Cowbird 2
Hooded Oriole 3
Bullock’s Oriole 2 1
House Finch 16 7 6 25 6 30
Lesser Goldfinch 2
House Sparrow 3
Totals by Type Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep
Waterfowl 22 14 33 44 35 55
Water Birds – Other 106 22 129 262 62 149
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 6 5 18 15 7 15
Quail & Raptors 1 1 3 5 2 4
Shorebirds 76 28 26 158 149 195
Gulls & Terns 1903 127 382 74 206 54
Doves 7 3 23 6 10 19
Other Non-Passerines 5 2 4 5 7 4
Passerines 95 60 86 174 118 140
Totals Birds 2221 262 704 743 596 635
             
Total Species Apr May Jun Jul 118 Sep
Waterfowl 2 4 3 3 3 7
Water Birds – Other 4 3 2 6 6 4
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 2 3 4 3 3 3
Quail & Raptors 1 1 2 3 2 3
Shorebirds 10 3 4 10 14 14
Gulls & Terns 8 7 9 6 8 4
Doves 2 2 1 2 2 2
Other Non-Passerines 2 1 2 1 2 3
Passerines 20 17 15 17 19 21
Totals Species-98 51 41 42 51 59 61
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