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Out on the Ballona Jetties: 9 December, 2017

December 12, 2017

Bufflehead male has a glossy green-blue-purple head in good light
(Joyce Waterman 12-9-17)

A good day to go look at birds – a break from all the wildfire smoke and ash and what better place than the beach.

Ring-billed Gulls move in (Ray Juncosa 12-9-17)

We had coordinated the walk with the tide tables – low tide is best as birds like to poke around the uncovered rocks and find tasty bits. What we had not planned on was the Sheriff’s Department closure of the North jetty so they could install fireworks for that night’s boat parade.

Horned Grebe – with it’s clean white breast, neck and throat appearing like a miniature Western Grebe – can often be difficult to find (Joyce Waterman 12-9-17)

A trifecta of wintering Western Grebes (Ray Juncosa 12-9-17)

 We saw some favorites on the South jetty – Surfbird and Black Turnstone (but no Ruddy Turnstone).

Black Turnstone in winter plumage (Joyce Waterman 12-9-17)

Male Surf Scoters in the water showed bright red/orange feet when they flew. Red-breasted Mergansers had bright orange bills. For sea birds, orange may be the fifth most popular color after black, white, gray and dull and boring but cryptic gray-brown.

Red-breasted Mergansers (Ray Juncosa 12-9-17)

We saw handsome Buffleheads in the lagoon which showed some color other than black and white in the strong light.We had three different grebes.

Black-bellied Plover (Joyce Waterman 12-9-17)

We also saw the largest concentration of birds up the creek with Black-bellied Plovers, Marble Godwits and Willets abounding.

Willets & Marble Godwit in close formation (Ray Juncosa 12-9-17)

We had no surprises, but a pleasant walk looking at old and new friends – birds and people.
Happy Holidays!
[Ellen Vahan]

Mixed flocks – this one of Willets, Marbled Godwits & Black-bellied Plovers – congregate inland along the rip-rap edges of Ballona Creek (Joyce Waterman 12-9-17)

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