Sunday, July 19, 2009
Heidi and I re-visited Shoreline, Mountain View on the first of June. We had not been there since last fall. We had no idea of what birds we would see this time of year. So we were pleasantly surprised by what we ended up seeing. One of the birds we had fun watching as well as being challenged to photograph them in flight were the Forster's terns. They are loud and gregarious birds, and certainly a challenge to photograph. Below is probably my best shot of a tern in flight, flying over a flock of gulls. We think the gulls were California gulls. In the distance you can see what looks like a couple of white circus tents. That is the amphitheater where quite a few musical artists perform every summer.
While watching the terns we also saw a pair of gadwall swimming in the channel. From what I can tell, it looks like a pair of females. I think the males would be more "flashy" than this, and both of these ducks had orange and black bills, which is prevalent on the females, and not necessarily on the males. Besides, I would think that the males should have been in breeding plumage by the first of June. Anyone care to affirm this or correct me on this?
When the gulls got tired of the terns flying over them, they decided to "take off." Here's my shot of several of them in flight.
Shortly afterwards, Heidi and I decided to walk a little farther. And in another location that, at first, looked like there wasn't anything to see, she spotted in the distance a small "flock" of white pelicans. How cool! If you click on the photos you can probably get a larger image.
Shortly after the pelican experience, we thought we would head out. At first I was telling Heidi about barn swallows that have nested around a building there at Shoreline, and I was disappointed that I didn't see any flying around. Last year, my husband and I visited around this time of year and saw many barn swallows, all in flight. And I was never able to get a picture of them. No sooner I had mentioned this to Heidi, then we saw a few swallows flying over to a concrete wall, more like a culvert. The area had a large chainlink fence around it, to keep people out of it for safety reasons. Here are a few shots I took; you can see part of the chainlink fence in these two photos.
There was a wooden stairway and railing nearby where more of the barn swallows were perched. I find these birds almost as beautiful as bluebirds. And I was certainly surprised that this many birds sat still long enough for me to get a photo of them.
On our way back to the car, we could hear a few song sparrows. It sure wasn't easy to locate them until Heidi pulled out her "trusty iPhone" (which has the iBird app on it) and called a song sparrow close enough that we could get a shot. How cool is that? Just an FYI: we don't do that very often. I'd rather try pishing before using the iBird to call the bird(s).