Monday, 26 September 2016

Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York - Part Two

Date: 2nd - 14th September 2016
Location: Los Angeles, San Francisco + New York City
Weather: Blue Sky, Sunny + 31+ Degrees
Other Species: Great Blue Heron, Great White Egret, Snowy Egret, Little Egret, Brown Pelican, Common Grackle, Anna's Hummingbird, Allan's Hummingbird, Laughing Gull, Heermann Gull, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Grey Catbird, Blue Jay, Double Crested Cormorant, American Robin, Mourning Dove, Willet, Belted Kingfisher, Acorn Woodpecker, White Crowned Sparrow, Dark Eyed Junco, Stella's Jay, Red-Masked Parrot, Elegant Tern, Red-Winged Blackbird - Of Note

Observation: Next up on our trip was Los Angeles, San Francisco and lastly back to New York City. Once again all pictures on this blog are taken with my Canon 7D and Canon 18-135mm lens only! Our first day in Los Angeles (LA) consisted of bus tours so not much hope for many birds, but some stunning scenery either way!

To my shock we passed a small lake whilst on the Downtown Tour and there were 5+ American Coots distantly, this was my only shot of them, but it's a new tick!


I also came across these Corvid's the whole time in LA, I think they are Fish Crows, they were focused around the mountain areas?


The next morning, our plan was to spend a day in Santa Monica and walking to Venice Beach, the weather couldn't be better! 32 Degrees and blue sky greeted us as we arrived.

Walking along the beach, this Willet wasn't scared of people as it was running in between me and my sister as we passed it. He seemed to be doing very well with catching little marine life.


This Willet further along the beach seems to be alot paler and upon searching the internet there are subspecies of  Western and Eastern Willet's. The picture below would make it the Western Willet.


There was an abundance of Heermann's Gull present both on Santa Monica beach and Venice Beach. This one being a Juvenile.


Upon trying to return along Santa Monica beach we got slightly 'lost' but it wasn't all bad as we found this small nature reserve called Ballona Lagoon.


First sighting along the boardwalk was this Great Blue Heron, pretty distant but first time seeing this bird so was very happy!


Also present along this Lagoon were Snowy Egret, Little Egret and Great White Egrets.

When walking over the bridge I spotted a large bird on a very distant post, so quickly walked back around the corner we had just come from and after a few shots, I realised it was a Belted Kingfisher, I wasn't aware they were resident in California so this was a shock to see! It had a good clean before I left him to it, second new bird of the day!

The Belted Kingfisher is alot larger than the UK Kingfisher, being between 10-20cm larger!


A short stop off at Fisherman's Wharf whilst we waited for the bus to depart. We were advised Harbour Seal and Pelicans are common here, so off we went!

Around the corner, a group of 6 Snowy Egret's were sat on a fishing boat that had just returned from sea, no guesses in what they were after!


There were 3 Harbour Seals swimming around the harbour, one of which caught a large crab. Just as we returned to the bus, this Brown Pelican flew over our heads.

Sixth new bird of the day, Los Angeles is proving VERY successful for birdwatching so far.


As the light started fading we headed back to Hollywood but not before us getting stuck in lots of traffic, at one point I heard what sounded like large bees, until I heard some loud chirps to look up and see 4 Anna's Hummingbirds above my head. At this point I was extremely happy with a Hummingbird being my target species for this trip until......

Our last full day in Los Angeles/Hollywood so we headed to Griffith Observatory to see the Hollywood Sign and Downtown LA. We caught the bus to the top due to the temperature being 34 Degrees, only cost 50 cents!

As we got off the bus, something caught my eye so I ran across the grass to be greeted by another Anna's Hummingbird.

This little thing was so close, I managed to get some close up iPhone shots! Seconds later it circulated around the 4 bushes feeding happily. WOW!


As the small group of Hummingbirds were back and forth I left them to later return. Walking down one of the trails, I heard the classic knock of a Woodpecker.

This is a male Acorn's Woodpecker, very aggressive towards the other Acorn Woodpeckers nearby!


I sat back in the initial place to watch the Hummingbirds feed, and attempted to photograph them feeding, these are the best 2 out of around 150 images! Very pleased.



As we waited at the bus stop to return to Hollywood, we spotted another Anna's Hummingbird sat in the shade, you can just about see my reflection in the eye!


Landscape shots are available on my Facebook: Lauren Tucker Photography if anyone is interested.

We departed and next up was San Francisco for 2 days, we arrived to very foggy skies and 18 degrees so shorts and vest tops weren't a good idea! After a quick change we headed to Pier 39 for a early evening boat trip.

Upon leaving the harbour we were greeted by 27 Brown Pelicans (only 6 pictured) who were coming into roost.


The boat trip was perfect for wildlife watching, 3 Dolphins, Brown Pelicans, Elegant Terns, Heermann Gulls all spotted within the hour trip.

The next morning we headed for Golden Gate Park for a short wander (and birdwatching). Plenty of new ticks for me here also including:

White-Crowned Sparrow


Stella's Jay


Dark-Eyed Junco


Brewer's Blackbird


Back at Pier 39 the last of the roosting Brown Pelican was still present, the Golden Gate Bridge gave a stunning backdrop!


The night tour we had booked to enable us for some night shots of the Skyline, we stopped off at Treasure Island to look back onto San Francisco and as we were leaving a family of Racoon's appear from the rocks on the waterfront. Glad to hear they are left bits of food from the tour buses some nights!


That's all from San Francisco, and on our final part of the trip we returned back to New York for a final 2 days before catching our flight back to London, we considered changing the flight home to enable us longer in America!

As we were jet-lagged and were up nice and early I managed to persuade my sister to another short wander around Central Park, which secured my last new bird of the holiday.

Carolina Wren, initially identified by sound so knew I had to get a picture!


Been to America a few times but never seen Racoon's but now seen one or more in each state! This one was around 20 foot up the tree and caught it mid-yawn!


With 21 new bird spotted, I'm already planning a return trip to America so stay posted!


Thanks For Looking !

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