Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Little Bit of Scotland in Huntington Central Park

Wooded area with toyon bushes beneath the trees on the Gothard side of the park.

I parked on a side that I don't go to much. The Gothard side. There is a very small parking lot on that side of the park. I was hoping to see Cedar Waxwings because the woods and "wetland" area are full of berries. As I walked into the sun-dappled path that wound through the trees, I heard Scottish bagpipes. It was surreal. As I walked along through the trees with the Audubon Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting from branch to branch, and butterflies lazily fluttering along the trails and through the trees. The bagpipes gave me a feeling of walking in the woods in Scotland. It was like a soundtrack.

Berries were everywhere.

I followed the music down along the winding path and came to the lawn where a real, live band was practicing with bagpipes and Scottish drums. No kilts though--just normal American clothes. I walked over and asked a man with the group who they were. He identified them as the LA Scots Pipe Band. Definitely worth going to a performance.

Check out an actual performance on YouTube above

Imagine walking through Huntington Central Park birding to wonderful music and bird songs.

Monarch Butterfly on dry twig.

Beautiful orange and black Monarch Butterflies were everywhere accented here and there by dark Mourning Cloak Butterflies. When the Monarchs flew overhead with the sunlight lighting up their wings they looked like flying stained glass. It was such a peaceful and calming day.

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Black Phoebes are one of the most common birds in the park.

I saw numerous Black Phoebes.

The park was beautiful. So many shades of green mixed with leafless trees.

I spotted a group of Cedar Waxwings in some Toyons near the wetlands area, but could not get a good look at them since I was staring into the sun and they were some distance away. By the time I worked my way over there, they were gone. I got in my car and drove to the Edwards entrance near Alice's Breakfast in the park. No more Highlands seranade, but nice birding nonetheless.

Red-tailed Hawk--probably a light immature. Looks like the Red-tail in Sibley that is in its first year. The Redtail looked white without my binoculars or camera. I thought it was a gull. Hope you can see the "windows" near the wingtips, the black marks near the shoulders and the belly band? Those are diagnostic red tail or no.

Double-crested Cormorants. One drying its wings.

Great Egret.

At high noon the sun threw shadows of trees on the grass and paths throughout the park.

Think this is a Cassin's Kingbird.

Red-tailed Hawk inside Shipley Nature Center--taken from outside the fence. A darker, mature Red-tailed Hawk.

Hard to see but there is a Great Blue Heron in the lower left corner in the tree and two Great blue Herons flying in front of it. It was a bit of a skirmish. This group of eucalyptus trees on the Edwards side of the lake is a favorite roost for Great Blue Herons.

All in all, it was not a steller day as far as birding, but a pleasant, relaxing day with sun and shade. Birds, bagpipes, and drums make for a really nice day of birding in the OC.

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