Over Twenty Bird Species Observed In A One Hour Walk Around Mary Lake

by Larry on June 9, 2009

House Sparrow Male all photos by Larry Jordan

I decided to take a walk around Mary Lake after work the other day because I had gotten word of a Phainopepla, Virginia Rail and Belted Kingfisher seen there recently as well as Hooded Oriole, Nuttall’s Woodpecker and Western Tanager, among other species.  I did get a good look at a Nuttall’s Woodpecker as well as twenty other species in an hour walk around the lake.

I began my walk seeing one of our non-native birds, the House Sparrow.  Being the Shasta County Coordinator for the California Bluebird Recovery Program, I don’t care for House Sparrows, this bird being a non-native bird that displaces bluebirds by taking over their nesting sites (see my post on The Insidious Invaders).  But the walk got better as soon as I turned the corner and saw this Green Heron standing on a stump.  He wasn’t close enough to get a good picture but I managed a decent shot of him “fluffing up” after Preening.

While I was photographing the heron, several Red-winged Blackbirds and their fledglings were making a ruckus I couldn’t ignore.

Red-winged Blackbird Male

Red-winged Blackbird Female

As I made my way around the tall grasses to a more open area, I saw a Black Phoebe hawking insects and a female Wood Duck with her chicks.

If you noticed, there is a dragonfly in the upper left-hand corner of that photo.  There were lots of dragonflies around the lake.  If anyone can identify some of these (Amila) I would appreciate it.

When I reached the north side of the lake, there is a group of Mulberry trees where I saw Western Bluebirds, House Finches, Black-headed Grosbeak, Anna’s Hummingbird, Northern Mockingbird, and this Nuttall’s Woodpecker and European Starling (the other non-native species found here in the US).

Nuttall’s Woodpecker

European Starling

There were also several Tree Swallows nesting in the oak trees on this side of the lake.  On the way back to the car I encountered a pair of Ruddy Ducks, a Pied-billed Grebe, plenty of Canada Geese with their goslings and a Mallard female sitting on a nest.

Mallard Female On Nest

The Great Egret was conspicuously present also as I made my way back to the car to head home but as I was driving away I had to get out of my car when I got one last, pleasant surprise.  I saw a male California Quail sitting atop a fence looking around.  You know how they do when they are on the lookout?  Sure enough, the female and several little bundles of fluff scurried across the road into the safety of the bushes.  I leave you and Mary Lake with the images of the quail family.

California Quail Male

California Quail Female

California Quail Chicks

Good Birding!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Kratofil June 9, 2009 at 5:54 am

Great shots Larry. A very productive walk. I have never been there. Looks like I should!!!

Birds 'n Such June 9, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Great series of photos Larry! Enjoyed it!

gwendolen June 9, 2009 at 10:07 pm

Wow Larry, what a productive walk. I really like the red-winged blackbirds, very striking birds.

Poor little House Sparrows. They are on the Red List here in the Netherlands. I miss seeing them around every day.

Shame they were introduced to the Americas and Australia though.

gwendolens last blog post..Bad light, great sightings | BPW #41

The Zen Birdfeeder June 11, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Great images but really love that blackbird!

The Zen Birdfeeders last blog post..Return to the Garden – June Update

Gallicissa June 11, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Hi Larry,
That Red-winged Blackbird male in flight is my favourite of the bird pictures. I see that you have not been ignoring other winged beauties on your birding walks, which is something that I admire of birders!

Thanks for seeking dragonfly ID help from me! I have a copy of “Dragonflies through binoculars – A Field Guide to dragonflies of North America” by Sidney W.Dunkle, which is pretty comprehensive guide with very good photos of all but 14 species that occur in North America being illustrated. It also gives rich detail for field identification. It is by using this resource that I attempt to identify your dragonflies. I have no experience of North American dragonflies and I am happy to be corrected.

1st row (left) : Common Green Darner male
1st row (right): no idea.
2nd row (left):Common Whitetail young male.
2nd row (right):Widow Skimmer male
3rd row (left): Blue Dasher male.
3rd row (right):Twelve-spotted Skimmer male.
4th row (left): probably Blue Dasher male.
4th row (right): Blue Dasher in copula.

Happy birding!
Amila.

Gallicissas last blog post..Dawn of a Dropwing

Kyle June 12, 2009 at 4:07 am

What a wonderful morning of birding, Larry! Looks like you had a fine time, and got some excellent photos to go with it. I also love the male Red-winged Blackbird — one of the best “on the wing” shots I’ve seen of a RWBL in a while. Great shots of California Quail family, too!

Kyles last blog post..Backyard Doves … or Feeding the Pigs

Larry June 12, 2009 at 5:41 am

@Frank it’s a great place to bird and photograph

@Alan thank you for your kind words

@Gwen I feel bad for you that the House Sparrows are on the Red List there in NL. I wonder why they don’t flourish there as they do hear?

@Nancy thank you for stopping by with a comment. It is so nice to hear the multiple calls of the Red-winged Blackbirds this time of year. I can’t help but take photos of them.

@Amila thank you very much for your dragonfly IDs! Your pond must be an amazing sight to see this time of year. It looks like I will be purchasing the field guide you suggested and probably buying my wife the macro lens she has been wanting (we can both use it):-)

@Kyle thank you so much. It was indeed a very relaxing, after work walk and I thoroughly enjoyed it

chris June 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Hi Larry,
Wow, 20 in a hour… That will be what I will see in 3 hours around Reykjavík!!!
Such a diversity that I’m stunned!!! I love the california quail a lot and would like to see one and get that nice shots…

chriss last blog post..Ducks at Mývatn

Thomas June 12, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Twenty in one hour ! WOW. The image of the red-winged blackbird is awesome Larry.

Thomass last blog post..Wildlife Moments – Leopard Vs Dhole

Liz June 13, 2009 at 5:00 am

What a rich birding trip. Great pics.

Lizs last blog post..Garden Expansion

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