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Report from the Field

March 27, 2020

Cinnamon Teal have baby-blue secondary wing feathers and (look closely) olive-green feathers on their back (Ray Juncosa 2-24-19)

SMBAS canceled the regular monthly walk for Sunday, 22 March, due to the shelter-at-home order from California Governor Newson. No group meetings, stay six feet away from everyone else. This is impossible at Malibu due to the often-narrow paths, not to mention people wanting to look through the telescope. But conscientious individuals can still go out and get some birding in. Our president, Liz Galton, files this report. (Chuck Almdale, Ed.)

I wanted to tell you, before it all gets lost in the mists of history, that Jean and I did go to the Lagoon on Sunday. The morning was gorgeous — of course it rained heavily in the afternoon, but no sign of that while we were there.

Ring-billed Gull finds a strawberry (Grace Murayama 3-19-20 Malibu Lagoon)

We were there from nine to eleven, about. We didn’t count birds, but there were at least ten Cinnamon Teal pairs, shining in the sun. Not too many other ducks. Some Shovelers and Gadwall in the channel. Oh yes and Green-winged Teal. Seven Canada Geese too — noisy. A few Snowy Egrets, in couples. Lots of Cormorants, with double crests. Quite a few Killdeer, running around on the various shores, and between the path and the lagoon. A smattering of other shorebirds, Whimbrels, Godwits, Willets. I saw only one Black-bellied Plover.

A lonely Snowy Plover by the westernmost lifeguard station on the beach
(Grace Murayama 3-19-20 Malibu Lagoon)

Snowy Plover checks out the photographer sneaking up behind them
(Grace Murayama 3-19-20 Malibu Lagoon)

I counted eighteen Snowy Plovers, but I think there were more, because when someone went by, they jumped up and scattered and it looked like more. A complement of gulls sleeping. Three terns — Jean said two Royals and one Elegant. The Royals were dressed to kill. Very smart black hairdos. The Pelicans were also in their Sunday Best, all except one, who may have been a juvenile. Our Osprey came and landed just fine on his usual perch, but could not fold his one wing properly; it seemed injured.

The Osprey claims a fish (Grace Murayama 3-19-20 Malibu Lagoon)

Some Sparrows, Song and White-crowned; Jean saw a Gnatcatcher. Other than the usual Crows and Rock Doves, I think that was it.

We had a lovely morning.

I hope everyone is both well and reasonably happy.
[Liz Galton]

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