Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flocking Long-billed Curlews

Hi, Birders,

While making a short birding run mid-day, I spotted a flock of 363 high-flying LONG-BILLED CURLEWS! I was on Santa Ana Valley Road. Gunning the engine, I tried to follow them with my car, hoping that I would get a better view once they landed. Speeding around and over the hills, I headed for Quien Sabe Road. Sure enough, I arrived just in time to see a portion of the flock, settling down on the grassy knolls. However, raucous RAVENS drove them off! As this flock took to the sky, they were joined by the remainder of their flock, which had settled somewhere else. Now, they were together, flying and circling higher. Finally, they were joined by yet a third flock of 130 additional birds. Circling higher yet, were some 493 birds, calling as they went. They split up into smaller flocks, finally heading off toward Panoche Valley, or the great Central Valley. Meanwhile, as I watched all of this, a winter resident FERRUGINOUS HAWK sat on the telephone pole and an adult GOLDEN EAGLE was chased by a RED-TAILED HAWK. I had already passed 2 other Golden Eagles and one PRAIRIE FALCON.

I headed over to Paicines Reservoir. In a small elderberry shrub north of the turnout, I found at least 8 PHAINOPEPLAS feeding.

Birding on the Faultline,
Debi Shearwater

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