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Another Warm January: Malibu Lagoon, 28 January, 2018

January 31, 2018

Sanderlings seeking a place to land (Joyce Waterman 1-28-18)

We had close to forty birders for a warm (76°F) day of birding. The sixty-five species was above average for recent years, and – as usual – about 75% of the 2,208 birds were gulls, mostly California Gull, typical for this time of year.

Wintering male ducks: American Wigeon and Gadwall (J. Waterman 1-28-18)

Probably the most uncommon bird was a single male Cinnamon Teal, sleeping among the wigeons. Over our 249 visits since October 1979 in which birds were censused, 153 Cinnamon Teal have been present on 24 total occasions. But the last sighting was a singleton on 12-26-10, seven years ago. Prior to that was in February and March, 2009. They’ve visited only thirteen times since January 2000, with the high count of only six birds. Contrast that to January – April, 1981 when they were present on four dates with a total of 101 birds. Of course, they likely were the same individual birds for that consecutive period. Still, that series accounts for 66% of total Cinnamon Teal ever present. So…bottom line…if you see a Cinnamon Teal at the lagoon, you’re lucky. It’s a very pretty bird.

Two Snowy Plovers (Randy Ehler 1-28-18)

We were missing our Snowy Plovers until the very end of the visit, when nineteen suddenly shot in, accompanied by thirty Sanderlings. The Snowies immediately landed on the east end of the beach, almost at our feet, while the tight group of Sanderlings flew back and forth at least a dozen times before alighting among the exposed rocks at the beach’s west end.

Osprey on a snag, waiting for a Jumping Mullet to jump into his mouth
(R. Ehler 1-28-18)

We had two Ospreys and two Peregrine Falcons, a bit unusual. The falcons raced around the lagoon, as usual, much to the annoyance of the shorebirds and ducks, while the Ospreys hunted in their more sedate manner – soaring high overhead, then plunging on a hapless Mullet. I didn’t see any of these raptors actually catch anything.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, gleaning invertebrates (R. Ehler 1-28-18)

The Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are still relatively abundant, as they’ve been since November. The Yellow-rumped Warblers are everywhere in the brush and trees, as they always are in winter. They’ll leave in the spring.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (L) faces off with a Lesser Goldfinch (R) (J. Waterman 1-28-18)

Birds new for the season were: Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Eared Grebe, Turkey Vulture, Red-tailed Hawk, Peregrine Falcon, Lesser Goldfinch, Spotted Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird.

Many thanks to our photographers: Randy Ehler & Joyce Waterman.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet pauses momentarily while flitting through the brush
(R. Ehler 1-28-18)

Male House Finch
(J. Waterman 1-28-18)

Our next three scheduled field trips: Malibu Lagoon 8:30 & 10am, 25 February; Sepulveda Basin, 8:30am, 10 March; Malibu Lagoon 8:30 & 10am, 25 March.

Our next program: Santa Cruz Island, with Larry Loeher – Evening Meeting: Tuesday, Mar. 6, 7:30 p.m., Chris Reed Park (we hope), 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.

Links: Unusual birds at Malibu Lagoon
9/23/02 Aerial photo of Malibu Lagoon

Heermann’s Gull already in breeding (alternate) plumage (J. Waterman 1-28-18)

Prior checklists:
2017: Jan-June, July-Dec
2016: Jan-June, July-Dec 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.

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.

Many thanks to Randy Ehler, Lillian Johnson and Chris Lord for their contributions to the checklist below.  [Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2017-18 8/27 9/24 10/22 11/26 12/24 1/28
Temperature 63-68 68-75 72-82 56-63 57-68 67-76
Tide Lo/Hi Height L+1.83 L+1.86 H+5.38 L+2.94 L+2.8 H+5.99
Tide Time 0730 0559 1050 0946 0654 0609
Canada Goose 1
Cinnamon Teal 1
Gadwall 1 1 5 30
American Wigeon 1 3 15 36
Mallard 7 27 15 2 22 12
Northern Pintail 1 3
Green-winged Teal 6
Surf Scoter 2 2
Bufflehead 1 6
Red-breasted Merganser 4 8 3
Ruddy Duck 4 2 13
Pied-billed Grebe 1 3 5 8 5 1
Eared Grebe 1 2
Western Grebe 2 9 15 5
Clark’s Grebe 2 2 1
Rock Pigeon 3 5 6 10 6 8
Mourning Dove 1 2 2 2 2
Vaux’s Swift 40
Anna’s Hummingbird 1 1 1
Allen’s Hummingbird 1 6 2 1 3 5
American Coot 20 62 140 60 72 125
American Avocet 1
Black-bellied Plover 39 89 135 115 28 22
Snowy Plover 16 34 25 31 35 19
Semipalmated Plover 2 1
Killdeer 2 8 10 4 3 4
Whimbrel 2 54 45 36 10 8
Marbled Godwit 8 45 80 135 57 18
Ruddy Turnstone 4 7 6 11 12 1
Sanderling 7 10 13 11 30
Baird’s Sandpiper 3
Least Sandpiper 4 3 10 6 1
Western Sandpiper 2 1
Long-billed Dowitcher 1
Spotted Sandpiper 4
Willet 6 55 120 85 11 9
Bonaparte’s Gull 1
Heermann’s Gull 7 11 64 5 4 5
Mew Gull 1 1
Ring-billed Gull 1 4 25 42 35
Western Gull 52 96 145 105 97 95
California Gull 1 98 385 560 1550
Herring Gull 1 2
Glaucous-winged Gull 2 5
Least Tern 23
Caspian Tern 7 1
Royal Tern 6 52 47 4 21 12
Elegant Tern 32 4
Pacific Loon 1 1
Common Loon 4
Brandt’s Cormorant 1 2 2 2
Double-crested Cormorant 18 36 45 32 32 73
Pelagic Cormorant 1 1
American White Pelican 2
Brown Pelican 14 17 17 45 5 6
Great Blue Heron 3 5 4 8 5 2
Great Egret 5 3 8 1 1
Snowy Egret 11 10 4 8 18 8
Cattle Egret 5
Green Heron 3 2 2
Black-crowned Night-Heron 2 1 1 3
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 1 1 1 2
Cooper’s Hawk 1
Red-tailed Hawk 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Nuttall’s Woodpecker 1
American Kestrel 1
Merlin 1
Peregrine Falcon 2
Black Phoebe 3 5 6 3 4 3
Say’s Phoebe 1 2 2 4 3 3
Cassin’s Kingbird 1
Western Kingbird 1
American Crow 6 6 5 5 4 3
Rough-winged Swallow 2
Barn Swallow 6 1
Oak Titmouse 1 1
Bushtit 1 15 48 10 20
House Wren 1 1 1
Marsh Wren 2 3 1 1
Bewick’s Wren 3 2 4 3 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 15 7 8
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4 1 3
Northern Mockingbird 2 2 1 2 2
European Starling 6 25 8 50 15
American Pipit 4
House Finch 2 8 16 40 41 20
Lesser Goldfinch 2 1 1
Spotted Towhee 1
California Towhee 1 2 1
Brewer’s Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 8
Song Sparrow 2 3 4 2 9 4
White-crowned Sparrow 20 45 27 8
Golden-crowned Sparrow 1
Dark-eyed Junco 1
Western Meadowlark 1 3 3 2 2
Hooded Oriole 1
Bullock’s Oriole 2
Red-winged Blackbird 6
Brewer’s Blackbird 12 1
Great-tailed Grackle 2 3 6 12 6 1
Orange-crowned Warbler 1 5 2 1 1 2
Nashville Warbler 1
Common Yellowthroat 2 8 5 9 5 2
Yellow Warbler 2
Yellow-rumped(Aud) Warbler 12 3 12 12
Wilson’s Warbler 1
Totals by Type Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan
Waterfowl 7 27 19 14 58 109
Water Birds – Other 56 118 223 164 126 211
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 19 23 19 25 26 11
Quail & Raptors 1 1 0 0 4 6
Shorebirds 80 314 434 441 173 112
Gulls & Terns 128 161 363 524 729 1704
Doves 4 7 8 12 8 8
Other Non-Passerines 1 47 3 1 5 6
Passerines 48 86 115 211 194 121
Totals Birds 344 784 1184 1392 1323 2288
             
Total Species Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan
Waterfowl 1 1 5 5 8 9
Water Birds – Other 6 4 10 7 8 8
Herons, Egrets & Ibis 3 5 5 6 3 3
Quail & Raptors 1 1 0 0 4 4
Shorebirds 9 14 9 10 9 9
Gulls & Terns 7 5 7 5 9 7
Doves 2 2 2 2 2 1
Other Non-Passerines 1 3 2 1 3 2
Passerines 15 24 19 19 22 22
Totals Species – 109 45 59 59 55 68 65
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