Thursday, May 6, 2010

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and Mason Regional Park

Looking over a pond at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary

Went out early on Sunday 05/02/2010 to walk and bird at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.  It was a beautiful morning.   Didn't see any unusual birds, but it was very relaxing.  I was able to watch a lot of familiar species and really appreciate their beauty and behaviors.

American Avocet strains the mud for food.

In the first pond, American Avocets were moving their bills back and forth through the water and the mud.   Cinnamon Teals  were dabbling in the shallows.

Anna's Hummingbird perched and watching as they often do.

An Anna's Hummingbird sat on the bare branches of a bush flycatching. 

Song Sparrow--note the spot in the middle of his chest.

Spotted Towhee.

Great Blue Heron stands on the path after flying toward me and landing not far from me.

Pretty bird.  This Great Blue Heron didn't care how close I was.

Raggedy Turkey Vulture in the middle of a molt.

Two Great Egrets bookend a Snowy Egret.

Great Egret flew a bit farther from me as I got closer, but not that far.

I know it's not a bird, but I love bunnies.  This was a little baby one.

The walkway across the marsh and streams.

Another song sparrow.  This one is belting out his favorite courting song.

This Common Yellowthroat sings from the marsh grasses.

Spotted Towhee sings over by the buildings as I leave. 

I decided to head over to Mason Regional Park.   It is a simple drive to Mason Regional Park from San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.  I often either visit both San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and Mason Regional Park as both are close by.    To get to Mason Regional Park, turn right onto Michelson from Riparian View.    Turn right on Culver.  Turn Right on University.  It is on the left at 18712 University Drive,
Irvine, CA 92612-2601 .  There is a fee for parking. Monday-Friday, it is currently $3 and on the weekends it is $5.  If you go to Regional Parks often, you might want to buy the OC Parks Pass which will get you into OC Regional Parks and Wilderness Parks.  It is a great deal at the current rate of $55.   If you want to include the OC beaches, it is $80.  (Check to make sure it includes the beaches you want to go to because there are several state and city beaches that are not included in the combo pass for the County beaches which are mostly in south Orange County.)

You can usually spot Western Bluebirds as they fly down from the trees to the ground to forage and fly back up.   This is how I spotted this female Western Bluebird

Another Song Sparrow.

Mason Regional Park is always full of singing Song Sparrows and Common Yellowthroats. 

Black-crowned Night Heron sitting on the railing overlooking the lake at Mason Regional Park.

As I approached the look out, I saw a Black-crowned Night Heron fly in.  He stayed there while people passed by, and I was able to come fairly close and take pictures and video.

Zooming in on the Black-crowned Night Heron.

I didn't put my digital camera on the recharger correctly the night before and it didn't charge.  Consequently,  I kept having to turn off my camera to conserve batteries.   Luckily, they lasted my entire walk. 

I love this view of the bridge. 

This is an Egyptian Goose.  There are quite a few in Orange County.  They are descendants of escapees from private collections. 

The first time I saw an Egyptian Goose, I thought it was a weird park duck.  Then I saw a few others who also looked exactly the same.  I thought, duh, it is an actual species.  So I looked it up.    There are escaped Egyptian Geese scattered all over Orange County and in Southern California.   They can be fairly quiet, and then start cackling and hissing.  With a few together, it can get quite loud. 

Ruddy Duck drake takes a swim.  Staying on the surface cruising.  The breeze blew the surface of the water causing little ripples.

Male Western Bluebird flies down and checks me out.   He flew in just a few feet away.

I don't know what was up that day, but several birds flew in really close to me.  This male Western Bluebird flew down very close to me just a few feet away.  I was lucky to be able to focus on him. 

It was a great morning birding in two great birding hot spots--San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary and Mason Regional Park.  When you are out birding in Orange County, try to visit two birding spots that are close together.   Slightly different habitats can yield different species.  And birding several different places is just plain fun.

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Mollers Down Under said...

Great pictures! I love birds of all shapes and colours. There are some really nice shots here!

Orange County Birder Girl said...

Thank you stopping by, Mollers. And for the compliment.