Sunday, February 1, 2009

Birding at Irvine Regional Park

Acorn Woodpecker up a tree by the parking lot at Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California.

After going on the monthly walk at Santiago Oaks Regional (see A Walk at Santiago Oaks Regional Park ), I went a short distance to Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California. It was pretty close. I parked in the parking lot past the lake and walked back to the lake. I was thinking of it anyway, but someone at the park told me that they had recently seen about 4-5 Red-Shouldered Hawks there. I have been trying to get more pictures of the Red-Shouldered Hawk. The Red-Shouldered Hawk is more of a woodlands bird. Unlike the Red-Tailed Hawk which perches on a high, exposed perch like a light pole or dead tree and looks out over a field, the Red-Shouldered Hawk perches in the midst of the branches of trees in a woodlands. Both hawks eat rodents among other things.

Beautiful Oak Woodlands.

The oak woodlands were filled with the sounds of woodpeckers calling and pecking. As I approached the lake, quacking and whistling were added to the mix. At the lake were Mallards, American Coots, Redheads, Ring-necked Ducks, and Wood Ducks. Luckily, there were no paddle boats out yet.

Redhead and a Mallard.

There were lots of ducks out on the larger part of the lake where they have the paddle boats.

Two male Ring-necked Ducks on the left and a female right.

The Ring-necked Duck is a mostly fresh water duck which dives under the water for food. No dabbling for this duck.

Trio again.

I like the Ring-necked. It reminds me of a Scaup, but there are lots of differences. The bill for one and the pattern of the white and black for another. And the Ring-necked Duck actually has a thin, cinnamon ring around its neck, but it usually can't be seen. Watch one when it is doing a lot of diving. That seems to be when I see it most because its neck is stretched out farther than when it is floating on the lake.

Female Wood Duck.

There are quiet a few Wood Ducks in the park. They eat acorns and other food.

Female (hen) with male (drake) Wood Duck.

The male Wood Ducks are handsome fellows. Many people are unaware that they can be seen at several Orange County areas including Irvine Regional Park and Craig Regional Park in Fullerton.

This Acorn Woodpecker has his mouth full of an acorn--He is trying to find the perfect hole in which to stuff it. Looks like he has a very long bill.

I heard a really loud raucous. It was a Red-Shouldered Hawk up in a tree by the lake. He was calling constantly at a high volume. They are one of the most vocal hawks we have. Them easy to spot. My source on the Santiago Oaks walk was right--there were Red-Shouldered Hawks here at Irvine Regional Park. Not surprising, since as I said, they like woodlands.

Blurry shot of the Red-Shouldered Hawk taking off. I knew it would since there was a child banging on the tree.

Then I heard a ruckus of another kind. A Nuttall's Woodpecker. It was moving up a sycamore tree.

Nuttall's Woodpecker being very cooperative.

I walked over by the pony rides and heard the Red-Shouldered Hawk again.

Red-shouldered Hawk calling loudly. He or she attracted several birders and photographers.

By the time I got there he had attracted a few birders and photographers.

Mockingbird in the midst of a berry feast.

There were other birds there are well. A Northern Mockingbird feeding on berries. And several Western Bluebirds . This was the first time I had seen them since late summer.

I had things to do, so I headed back to the car.

Acorn Woodpecker.

A Granary Tree that bears the marks of decades of Acorn Woodpeckers and acorns.

I passed lots of Acorn Woodpeckers and a scarred granary tree full of decades of holes and stuffed with acorns. It was something to see.

Acorn Woodpecker

Then back on the road and back to all the work that waited for me.

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