To my delight, a house finch couple has spent the last few days building a nest in the cypress tree outside our kitchen window. We can’t see the nest — it’s tucked into the tree’s interior — but it’ll be fun to see the birds come and go as they breed and feed.
It’s always a pleasure (and an education) to take a class with John Muir Laws.
Red-winged Blackbirds are apparently “one of the most abundant birds across North America” but Saturday was the first time I’ve observed any. They hang out in wet places, and we don’t have very many of them around here! The males are so handsome and showy, with their bright orange epaulettes which they puff up as they call.
Sketched from a photo by Ashok Khosla.
These guys are so dapper.
We have both Red-shouldered and Red-tailed Hawks here. Today I realised there’s an easy way to tell the difference, even if you can’t see the colouration. In flight, the Red-shouldered alternates a few rapid flaps with glides. In contrast, the Red-tailed’s wingbeats are deep and slow, with the wingtips often curled up.
Well, spring has sprung and the birds are letting us know about it! Yesterday at Wildwood, the Bewick’s wrens were going off! I’m grateful for tools like BirdNET for helping me improve by bird ID skills, especially as we have so many LBJs (little brown jobs) around here. (Ref 📷: Ashok Khosla)
I’m thinking someone’s been feeding the birds at Legacy Park, because these two Canada Geese waddled right on over to check me out. When it was clear I had nothing edible to offer, they lost interest and toddled off.
I was back at King Gillette Ranch yesterday with the LA Urban Sketchers, very happy they chose to meet in my neck of the woods this month.
Today I found a lovely sit spot under a big oak beside Liberty Creek, in a less-visited part of Malibu Creek State Park. Sadly, even here there was styrofoam litter, which I duly collected. On my way back to the car I thought I saw a bunch of tennis balls nestled among the mustard, and reached in to add them to my bag ‘o trash. But they were ripe calabazillas or stinking gourds (Cucurbita foetidissima). The vine had completely died back, leaving just the fruit. Tricked me!
The birders at the lagoon, with their scopes and massive lenses, told me that the raptor on top of the pole was an osprey. It was there when I arrived, and was still nibbling away at its fish when I left an hour later.