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Malibu Lagoon Field Trips: Sunday, 26 August, 8:30 & 10am.

August 24, 2018

Ho hum – Just another young Magnificent Frigatebird crusing o’er Malibu Lagoon (Larry Loeher, 8-10-18)

Yes, it’s true. Larry Loeher and Grace Murayama were exceedingly fortunate a few weeks ago, and not only (1) saw a Magnificant Frigatebird flying over the lagoon approaching “from inland,” but (2) got a photo of it in flight, and (3) it’s a good photo!, not a blurry “record shot.” In forty years, I’ve never seen this species in California, just to give you an idea of how uncommon they are around here.

I should add that several tropical pelagic species seem to be popping up more often, particularly frigatebirds and boobies: two Red-footed Boobies at Moss Landing way up north in Monterey County, and several Nazca and Nazca/Masked Boobies in the Los Angeles & Orange County areas. Oceanic water temperatures are very high right now; on August 1, Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla recorded 78.6°F off their pier., a 102-year record. Here’s the Sea Surface Temperature map from Aug, 20, 2018:

You can see that there’s a real hot spot from just west of Santa Barbara which runs south about 1/2 way down Baja California, plus a much larger one just south & southwest of it. You can access this map, plus a lot more, for any date here. So come to the lagoon this Sunday; maybe the frigatebird will cruise by again.

The migrating shorebirds are picking up in numbers and diversity as are gulls and terns. Many may still have their bright breeding plumages. Migrating Snowy Plovers are returning from breeding.

Some of the great birds we’ve had in August are: Green-winged Teal, Brandt’s & Pelagic Cormorant, Snowy Egret, White-faced Ibis, Osprey, White-tailed Kite, Red-tailed Hawk, Semipalmated Plover, Spotted Sandpiper, Ruddy & Black Turnstones, Sanderling, Western & Least Sandpipers, Pectoral Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Least, Forster’s, Royal & Elegant Tern, Black Skimmer, White-throated Swift, Belted Kingfisher, Merlin, Western Wood-Pewee, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Western Kingbird, Oak Titmouse, House Wren,  Orange-crowned, Warbler & Wilson’s Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Savannah, Song & Lincoln’s Sparrow, Western Tanager, Red-winged Blackbird, Bullock’s Oriole.

Royal Tern – drowsy, perhaps?
(J. Waterman 8-28-16)

Adult Walk 8:30 a.m. – Beginner and experienced, 2-3 hours.  Species range from 40 in June to 60-75 during migrations and winter.  We meet at the metal-shaded viewing area (see photo below) next to the parking lot and begin walking east towards the lagoon.  We always check the offshore rocks and the ocean.  When lagoon outlet is closed we continue east around the lagoon to Adamson House.  We put out special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginning birdwatchers.  So please, if you are at all worried about coming on a trip and embarrassing yourself because of all the experts, we remember our first trips too.  Someone showed us the birds; now it’s our turn.

Children and Parents Walk 10:00 a.m.   One hour session, meeting at the metal-shaded viewing area between parking lot and channel.  We start at 10:00 for a shorter walk and to allow time for families to get it together on a sleepy Sunday morning.  Our leaders are experienced with kids so please bring them to the beach!  We have an ample supply of binoculars that children can use without striking terror into their parents.  We want to see families enjoying nature. (If you have a Scout Troop or other group of more than seven people, you must call Jean (310-472-7209) to make sure we have enough binoculars and docents.)

Map to Meeting Place
Directions: Malibu Lagoon is at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road, west of Malibu Pier and the bridge.  Look around for people wearing binoculars.
Parking: Parking machine recently installed in the lagoon lot: 1 hr $3; 2 hrs $6; 3 hrs $9, all day $12 ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read the signs carefully) either along PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center Way north (inland) of the shopping center.  Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted.

Baird’s Sandpipers repeatedly appear in August
(Kirsten Wahlquist, both photos 8-28-16)

Prior checklists:
2017: Jan-June, July-Dec 2018: Jan-June,
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.
[Chuck Almdale]




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