Sunday, January 22, 2012

Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge

Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow
These guys are notoriously difficult to see--let alone photograph.  The reason for the trip, today, was the ultra-high tide that flushes them out of their hiding spots in the marshes.

Great Blue Herons

Long-legged Singer (left), Bearded Sosensky (center), Bucolic Benson (right)
Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus

 Ferruginous Hawk, Buteo regalis
Reddish Egret, Egretta rufescens
Coyote, Canis latrans

Lapland Longspur (center) among Horned Larks

Green Sea Turtle, Chelonia mydas

Oh, man!  I have been promising myself for 3 years that I am going to go see these guys.  They are a resident colony that was discovered in the San Gabriel River, 2 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean, in 2008.They are HUGE!  Seriously, they're humoungous.  The adults' head was around the size of an American football.  Csaba and Istvan saw their entire body.  The problem is that trying to photograph them when they momentarily surface for a gulp of air is like playing "wack a mole".  First, you see one surface here, so you focus your camera at that distance, and wait for him to come up in the same area, but he pops up over there, at a different distance, you that by the time you adjust your focus, he's down under, again.  We spent an hour not getting pictures i.e. taking pictures of the water surface, with the turtle gone. 
female American Kestrel, Falco sparverius
Compare this little girl to the gigantic Gyrfalcon
Common Teal a.k.a. Eurasian Green-winged Teal
American scientists consider this and American Green-winged Teal to be two races of one species.  The American birds have a vertical white stripe, like the one on the left.  The Eurasian birds--like the one onthe right--have a horizontal stripe.  European scientists consider them to be two separate species.  Makes sense to me.

Thanks for finding the Common Teal, Istvan!

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