Yeoman’s Work

Today was yeoman’s work.  Nothing fancy! Pick up the shovel, roll up the sleeves, put the hard hat on and go to work.  I needed three more California Specialty landbirds.  Two could be found in Los Angeles and that’s where we headed this morning.  After scanning Point Mugu, Don Desjardin and I drove into the heart of south LA to Salt Lake Park in Huntington Park, where we planned on finding Spotted Doves. It was an interesting ride through the surface streets to say the least.  Spotted Dove populations are diminishing all over Southern California. Some say this is due to predation by Cooper’s Hawks.  I don’t know about this; what I do know is that e-bird showed Salt Lake Park as the high count for Los Angles County and that’s where Bob Ake found his doves last March during his “Big Year”.  Soon after we left the car we saw a dove.  There were lots of them around the park.

Spotted Dove at Salt Lake Park (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

Put away the coffee mugs, break is over now get back to work.  Second stop was the  191 acre Filiorum Nature Preserve on the Palos Verde Penninsula. Here they’re revegitating the hillside with native scrub and grasses to improve and expand habitat for the California Gnatcatcher.  The trail descended from the cliff a good 600 feet and was very steep. It was much harder going up but I hardly  cared! After about an hour of searching one cooperative bird gave us a fine look. California Gnatcatchers have an almost all dark undertail and lack the white tertial edges the other gnatcatchers have.

California Gnatcatcher (Photo by Don Desjardin)

California Gnatcatcher showing dark undertail (Photo by Don Desjardin)

Work was done by 1:30PM and we headed back towards Ventura. Now we were hoping to add a Ventura County bird to Don’s list. Not an easy task since he’s top dog in the county with 420 species!  No luck with that but I did add two additional birds at Malibu Lagoon including these migrating Snowy Plovers.

Migrating Snowy Plovers at Malibu Lagoon (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

Tomorrow is still a “work week”. I’ve got unfinished business in the mountains and my flight doesn’t leave untii5:00 PM Friday.  My nemesis awaits. Will tomorrow be the day I break a forty year jinx? Stay tuned.

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