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Chris & Ruth at Malibu Lagoon, 22 January 2021

January 26, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

Sanderlings in formation – is revolution in the air? (Chris Tosdevin 2/24/21)

Chris and Ruth Tosdevin have been frequent visitors to Malibu Lagoon for many years, both on their own and on our regular SMBAS birdwalks. This is in addition to their leading (with Ken Wheeland) the birdwalk at Trippet Ranch in Topanga Canyon. Chris (alias “Chris the Brit”) shares a characteristic with nearly every British birder I’ve ever met, anywhere in the world, namely, they’re darned good birders.

Canada Goose in mid-honk (Grace Murayama 1/13/21)

It’s almost annoying. I wonder if it’s something about their school system? They notice things that most of the rest of us miss. Chris and Ruth have been on my last two impromptu “socially distanced birdwalks” at the lagoon, so when I landed in the hospital with a “busted gut” (not the official diagnosis), we asked them to take the monthly census. Birding with them is always a learning experience for me.

Pintail males (Chris Tosdevin 1/22/21)

In addition to that – of course – Chris is a very good bird photographer, and he has been kind enough to share many photos with us for many months now. Grace Murayama who, along with Larry Loeher, her co-maven of All Things Western Snowy Ploverish, also sends in many excellent shots, some of which follow.

Green-winged Teal male (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

A pod, a pouch, a scoop and a squadron of Brown Pelicans under the P.C.H. bridge.
When pelicans fish together, as do White Pelicans, they’re a fleet. (C. Tosdevin 1/24/21)

Every so often, Nuttall’s Woodpeckers come down out of the riparian areas upstream
and poke around the trees and large brush down at the lagoon. (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

Glaucous-winged Gulls are regular winter visitors to the lagoon.
Most of them are first-winter birds as is this one, but occasional a 2nd-cycle
or even an adult bird shows up. We also get small numbers of Western-Glaucous-winged
hybrids with varying amounts of black in the wing-tips. (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

This Turkey Vulture seems to have glommed onto
a really really dead-looking fish (G. Murayama 1/22/21)

Red-breasted Merganser females and young males look identical (to me) at this time of year.
In another month or two the males start to develop their alternate plumage.
(C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

This Great Egret is exceptionally plumy for mid-winter. (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

Say’s Phoebe resting on his lookout rock (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

Western Snowy Plover g:y/g contemplate the wrack. (G. Murayama 1/22/21)

Marbled Godwit, at 18″ one of our largest sandpipers (C. Tosdevin 1/22/21)

The gulls and terns were apparently off feeding somewhere else, and instead of thousands they totaled only 119 birds.

Birds new for the season: Canada Goose, Nuttall’s Woodpecker.

Many thanks to photographers: Grace Murayama and Chris Tosdevin

The next three SMBAS scheduled field trips: Who knows? Not I.
The next SMBAS program: March 2, Changes in Bird Status in California’s Central Valley, with John Sterling, on ZOOM, 7:30 PM.
The SMBAS 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk is canceled until further notice due to the near-impossibility of maintained proper masked social distancing with parents and small children.

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

Prior checklists:
2019: Jan-June, July-Dec  2020: Jan-JulyJuly-Dec   

2018: Jan-June, July-Dec  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 Lagoon Reconfiguration 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 restoration period June’12-June’14.
[Chuck Almdale]

Malibu Census 2020-218/269/2410/2111/2312/221/22
Temperature 70-7766-7764-6852-6457-6460-61
Tide Lo/Hi HeightL+2.52L+3.05L+2.70L+2.17L+2.15L+0.86
Tide Time095810040634113510521223
Snow Goose    2 
(Black) Brant   1  
Canada Goose     8
American Wigeon  330268
Mallard1614  148
Northern Pintail 2  12
Green-winged Teal1  1286
Surf Scoter  3 13 
Bufflehead   1056
Red-breasted Merganser   9121
Ruddy Duck  935196
Pied-billed Grebe322332
Eared Grebe  115 
Western Grebe   62 
Rock Pigeon46109143
Mourning Dove54292 
Vaux’s Swift 8    
Anna’s Hummingbird  1 2 
Allen’s Hummingbird 1122 
Sora    1 
American Coot 48118287445110
Black Oystercatcher    42
Black-bellied Plover6610291301025
Snowy Plover262742282221
Semipalmated Plover48  41
Marbled Godwit 354810
Ruddy Turnstone216261
Sanderling 397578258
Least Sandpiper2112 4136
Western Sandpiper81    
Short-billed Dowitcher2     
Spotted Sandpiper 2122 
Greater Yellowlegs    1 
Heermann’s Gull1014 854316
Mew Gull   2  
Ring-billed Gull   106515
Western Gull989021533430
California Gull1712153548550
Herring Gull   11 
Glaucous-winged Gull   133
Least Tern2     
Caspian Tern1     
Forster’s Tern4  1  
Royal Tern1112  35
Elegant Tern2211    
Red-throated Loon  1   
Pacific Loon   11 
Brandt’s Cormorant   1  
Double-crested Cormorant1843161082885
Pelagic Cormorant11341 
Brown Pelican85520632162
Great Blue Heron433331
Great Egret4201 12
Snowy Egret42542310
Black-crowned Night-Heron2     
Turkey Vulture   221
Osprey1 1111
Cooper’s Hawk   1 1
Red-tailed Hawk   1  
Belted Kingfisher12 111
Nuttall’s Woodpecker     1
Downy Woodpecker    1 
Black Phoebe545461
Say’s Phoebe 12251
Vermilion Flycatcher  1   
Loggerhead Shrike 1    
California Scrub-Jay12    
American Crow33411146
Tree Swallow   3  
Rough-winged Swallow1     
Barn Swallow20     
Bushtit501675 3030
House Wren1 21  
Marsh Wren 5 3  
Bewick’s Wren   2  
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 522  
Ruby-crowned Kinglet   2  
Wrentit 1    
Western Bluebird4     
Northern Mockingbird1 2 1 
European Starling2725853010
House Finch484464
Lesser Goldfinch 22256
Lawrence’s Goldfinch 15    
California Towhee 111  
Song Sparrow4371233
White-crowned Sparrow  412 4
Dark-eyed Junco    1 
Western Meadowlark25     
Great-tailed Grackle2 283 
Orange-crowned Warbler 42 1 
Common Yellowthroat445851
Yellow Warbler 2    
Yellow-rumped(Aud) Warbler  108166
Totals by TypeAugSepOctNovDecJan
Water Birds – Other3099146617518359
Herons, Egrets & Ibis1425972713
Quail & Raptors101533
Gulls & Terns36412922688634119
Other Non-Passerines1112362
Totals Birds79061957318081563738
Total SpeciesAugSepOctNovDecJan
Water Birds – Other457994
Herons, Egrets & Ibis433233
Quail & Raptors101423
Gulls & Terns852876
Other Non-Passerines132242
Totals Species – 98485148626450

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