Sunday, 18 January 2009:
Sarah and I went for a brief walk around the Chain of Lakes in Golden gate Park last Sunday, and although we didn’t catch a glimpse of the American Bittern that has been reported at North Lake for the past week, we had a nice walk, and I added a bunch of the usual birds to my nascent year list.
We started at the north end of North Lake, walking down the eastern path. Ruddy Ducks (1 male, 5 females), Bufflehead (2 males, 1 female), and a smattering of American Coots and Pied-billed Grebes rounded out the avians. I scanned the reeds along the western shore for signs of the reported American Bittern, but saw nothing, which wasn’t too surprising, as by all accounts this is a very cryptically-patterned bird.
There was no activity on the west side of Middle Lake, so we continued on to South Lake, where Sarah rested her recovering back on a bench while I walked around the lake. A family that was leaving excitedly said they’d seen a huge white heron, and sure enough, a Great Egret was doing its best impersonation of a statue along MLK Drive.
Great Blue Heron
A Great Blue Heron posed obligingly in a tree, and I got some nice photos of it. They always look a bit funny when perched, as I see them much more often on the ground.
A small group of Mew Gulls floated along the Mallards and American Coots, and the ubiquitous Rock Pigeons foraged in the grass.
A rattling call and motion in the corner of my eye found a female Belted Kingfisher flying in, one of my favorite residents of these lakes. It chose a poorly-lit area to perch, but I did what I could (thank you ISO 1600).
I continued around and then Sarah & I took the long way around Middle Lake, not really seeing anything of note other than running into my former ornithology classmate Colleen.
On North Lake’s western path were the usual Steller’s Jays and ducks enjoying a handout from some passers-by. I’d been hearing their metallic “Chik” on much of this path, but finally caught a glimpse of a California Towhee in the brush. That and the colony of Common Ravens at the north end of the lake rounded things out, and went off to have a tasty dim sum lunch at Ton Kiang.
Although this outing didn’t net anything unusual, it was nice to get out after a number of months when we were too busy with wedding planning and such.
Location: GGP – Chain of Lakes (S., Mid., N.)
Observation date: 1/18/09
Number of species: 16
+ Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos 4
+ Bufflehead – Bucephala albeola 3
+ Ruddy Duck – Oxyura jamaicensis 7
+ Pied-billed Grebe – Podilymbus podiceps 4
+ Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias 1
Great Egret – Ardea alba 1
+ Red-tailed Hawk – Buteo jamaicensis 2
American Coot – Fulica americana 5
+ Mew Gull – Larus canus 20
Western Gull – Larus occidentalis 3
Rock Pigeon – Columba livia 10
+ Belted Kingfisher – Megaceryle alcyon 1
Steller’s Jay – Cyanocitta stelleri 1
Common Raven – Corvus corax 8
+ American Robin – Turdus migratorius 1
+ California Towhee – Pipilo crissalis 1
+ = year bird
This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)