Saturday, February 18, 2017

Birding at San Andres Trail

This last month has been quite unsettling to my morning walk. One of my favorite trails at San Elijo Lagoon, Rios Ave West, is closed to visitors due to construction of a second railroad track and rebuilding of the railroad bridge. Rios west and the Pole Road Trail have been a very special place for my "Jo's morning walk" blog for quite a few years. A trail that I can spot and photograph five raptors in one morning walk. I had a chance to take some fun shots of many different migration birds that stop to visit. There was always something very raw and wild about Rios West. Maybe it was the lack of human traffic on the trail due to the very coarse gravel which joggers dislike and the dead end trail. I will really miss this "unique" trail. 

Now... I must find another trail that I can get in my walking and find bird subjects of interest. I whined to Eve about not being able to access Rios west and she replied "Do you want some cheese with that?", advising me to "get over it and move on".  LOL, no sympathy from the blog administrator, just a swift verbal slap telling me "There's nothing you can do about it so move on, Jo!"  I'm still sad but I am moving on.  Deciding to focus on the south end of San Andres Dr. at the San Dieguito Lagoon in Del Mar. 

Arriving at the San Andres trail head I walk past the willows that usually host some year-round birds. Here is a shot of a pair of House Finches feeding on a willow flower. 
What in the world is this? 
Looks a bit like a Yellow Warbler with extreme molting?

I headed towards the Del Mar Race track. The trail arrives at a "T" by the freeway. Following the designated trail south as it runs parallel with the east side of the freeway for about 300 yards and leads to a path under the freeway. A female Northern Harrier flies by probably hunting for her breakfast.
Coming out of the underpass for the freeway, you are greeted by a small trail bridge going over a small freeway run-off creek. The trail heads west towards the Del Mar Race track following the San Dieguito River. On this trail, You are about 30 to 50 feet from the water's edge so any close-up photos of water birds or shorebirds are impossible with my 400 mm lens. 

I walk for about a quarter of a mile where the trail is fenced off with a sign that says trail closed due to construction! The area is going through a major design phase to improve and repair the area for better trails and visitor enjoyment. Turning back to head home, I noticed a hummer perched on a bush next to the trail. A male Anna's Hummingbird. The little hummer was busy chasing off intruders but came back to the same bush by the trail after his chase. What a cute little guy to photograph. Here are a few shots of this sweet Anna's Hummingbird and how he lifted my spirits as he chirped and fluttered and flashed warnings to the intruder.

Anna's Hummingbird , Calypte anna  measures 4 inches long with a wingspan of 5.25 inches.

The Osprey's nest nearby catches my attention. The female (with the brown spotted breast) has just landed to relieve the male of his incubation duty.

The male stretches his wings and gets ready to fly. The female is focused on the nest and ready to resume her incubation duty.

The male tactfully springs up and over.
The hummer watches the Osprey but is on the constant lookout for other hummer intruders. Lol...I rarely give nicknames to my bird subjects but this hummer should be called "Pink Floyd" or "Floyd" for short. I have never before been around a hummer that just perched in one area and flashed pink constantly as this little guy. Most other hummers usually fly after the intruder but his guy did more flashing of his metallic pink feathers than chasing. He never appeared to be bothered by the clicking of my camera up close and personal. A super sweet bird. 

It's amazing how a little bird like this can lift your spirits. He has made my day and I will be coming back often. Time to start for home.
As I head towards the under-pass, I spot a bird that is high on my favorites list. Yes, it is the male Northern Harrier aka the Gray Ghost!

He flies low and shows off his great flying ability. Delighted to see him even though he is so far away. I hurry towards the freeway for a better shot.

But the male Osprey has spotted him too! He is not at all pleased with his appearance near the nesting site. He hurries to challenge the harrier but the "Gray Ghost" spots the Osprey's approach and casually flies high over to the east of the freeway.
The Northern Harrier is gone but I did manage to get a shot of this Caspian Tern passing by as I emerged on the east side of the freeway. Wow, this may become my new favorite trail!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.