Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Very Hawk-y Out There

Once we completed our Jay Watch count on Sunday I headed home a different way to check a couple of spots recently reported online and now nearby. First stop, Cameron Wright Park which is actually a couple of picnic table along a parking lot leading to a boat ramp. The reason for the stop was to see the Barn Swallows nesting under the bridge.

Barn Swallow

Yep. There they are. On the way back to the van I notice some commotion in the trees over the fence line. A Red-shouldered Hawk was pouncing on limbs after something. Just never seemed to catch anything.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Turned out I would be finding hawks all over today. First at the Jay Watch area, now the bridge, and later I did my quick tour of the lakes and found another Red-shouldered Hawk trying to rest in the rain. However, the locals were none too happy.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Blue Jays buzzed the hawk over and over. Sometimes the hawk ignored them, sometimes he almost fell over backwards as he kept a close watch.

Red-shouldered Hawk

While searching Google Maps to verify my count zone for the Bird Breeding Atlas I noticed a spot of green on the map where I never knew there was one. It is actually a mile from where I used to live before I was married. Called La Costa Wetlands. Don't know if it has always been there or established recently but I figured I had better check it out.

It is just outside of my count zone but it turns out to be a very nice park. Large ponds surrounded by small oaks and mature Cypress with paths and bridges and a huge grassy expanse. There was not a ton of birds but that is to be expected this time of year. I bet it is teaming with activity during migration. Definitely going on the list.

I counted up Common Gallinules, Red-winged Blackbirds, Wood Stork, Blue Jays, House Finches, Snowy and Tricolored Herons, and European Starlings on my quick lap of the place. The habitat is nice though I might not be walking through at night.

On the way back to the car some Blue Jays began shrieking in a small oak. Sounded like predator alarms so I searched. Took me a while but I finally spotted a very wet Cooper's Hawk trying to avoid detection.

Cooper's Hawk

Seconds later, a jay managed to flush the hawk to the other end of the park. Back at the parking lot, adult and juvenile Mockingbirds snatched small bugs from the air where they hung in clouds. I need to get back here when the rain goes away.

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