Malibu Lagoon Trip Report: 22 July, 2012
Don’t forget to visit our new page for the Malibu Lagoon 2012 Project, frequently updated with new photos.
The west channels area continues as a muddy mess. The remaining vegetation is almost gone and the footbridges are gone. In the channel area we found 10 Mallards, 7 Snowy Egrets, 1 Coot, 1 Spotted Sandpiper, 2 Western Gulls and 3 Black Phoebes. At the southwest corner of the path, which is slated to get a few picnic tables, we found an active feeding flock: Mourning Dove, Allen’s Hummingbird, Black Phoebe, Western Scrub Jay, American Crow, Oak Titmouse, Bushtit, Northern Mockingbird, European Starling, California Towhee, Song and Lincoln’s Sparrows, Hooded Oriole and House Finch. Whew!
Almost nothing was on the sea, save a few Snowy Egrets staggering across the floating kelp, which always shocks those who haven’t witnessed this before. An odd-looking White-winged Scoter, uncommon here at any time of year, was diving in the surf zone. Next to the colony fence we found the dewatering system outlet pipe, the end of which was hanging over a large wooden framework full of boulders. The boulders are to dissipate the force of the discharged water so it doesn’t significantly erode the sand.
As usual, most of the sea- and shorebirds were on the sand islands near the lagoon’s south shore. June’s unusually large flock of 340 Brown Pelicans had dwindled to only 17 birds. The numbers of Swallows – Rough-winged, Barn and Cliff – were also about average. The Barn Swallows were especially busy swooping low over the sand, scarfing up the sand flies.
Snowy Plovers were back from breeding, as they always are in late July. It was just before high tide, so all 22 of them were still roosting about 75 yds. east of the symbolic enclosure. If they continue roosting there, we may have to move the enclosure.
The large “cliffs” at either end of the controversial June beach breach area had eroded to become almost unnoticeable. In fact, I didn’t notice their absence until pointed out to me. Farther on, Adamson House was notable primarily for a single Bullock’s Oriole, and the 8 Allen’s Hummingbirds frequenting the flowers. Other than being cool and overcast, it was a fairly typical July day for birding at the beach.
Our next three field trips: Malibu Lagoon, 26 Aug.; Lower Los Angeles River, 8 Sept., 7:30am; Malibu Lagoon, 23 Sep., 8:30am.
Our next program: Tuesday, 2 October, 7:30 pm. Water Conservation and Sustainability – Kimberly O’Cain. The usual blog reminders will be emailed.
NOTE: Our 10 a.m. Parent’s & Kids Birdwalk remains canceled until the lagoon project is completed and the parking lot is again fully available.
Comments on Bird Lists Below
Species Diversity: No census was taken in July 2008, so June 2006 is included to keep comparisons at six years. Of 79 total species appearing in July for 2006-12, no more than 66% of them appeared on any one count day, something to keep in mind if you wonder why what is there is much less than what could be there. July 2012 gets the species high count of 52, 5 species (11%) above average; so far, the project is not having an adverse effect on diversity. This contradicts my expectation expressed in June that diversity would continue lower than average, so my only prediction this month is that some of you will get the plover quiz right, some won’t.
Total Birds: The opposite of June – species diversity was high, but total numbers were low, 556 (91%) of the 610 average, which is not really significant. Unusually low numbers of Brown Pelican (17) was the primary reason.
|June 2006 – 2012||23-Jul||22-Jul||26-Jul||25-Jul||24-Jul||22-Jul|
|Tide Lo/Hi Height||H +3.9||L +2.2||L +0.4||H +4.05||L +2.61||H +2.34||Ave.|
|Great Blue Heron||11||9||3||6||6||1||6.0|
|Totals by Type||23-Jul||22-Jul||26-Jul||25-Jul||24-Jul||22-Jul||Ave.|
|Quail & Raptors||2||2||1||1||0||1||1|
|Gulls & Terns||123||140||44||306||175||161||158|
|Quail & Raptors||2||2||1||1||0||1||1.2|
|Gulls & Terns||7||6||3||9||8||7||6.7|
|Totals Species – 79||42||49||40||51||50||52||47.3|