Thursday, April 12, 2012

Plan B Birding

I was all set to visit the Desert Botanical Gardens for some evening birding and photography on Wednesday. The plan was to leave work and head over while I still had a couple hours of daylight. But, just as I arrived at work in the morning, I realized I had made the most heinous, egregious, frustrating and teeth-gnashing error of all...I had forgotten my birding gear at home!!!

So, with much self-deprecation, I headed back to the west side of town after work. I got the equipment and resigned myself to some local park birding. I wish I could say there was some special sighting, some serendipitous occurrence whereby I was left thinking, "Wow! What great luck that I forgot my stuff earlier and was forced to come here, otherwise I never would have seen this interesting and beautiful rare bird (yes, that IS how I talk to myself)."

Encanto has been a great local patch, and does produce its share of surprises from time to time, including a Lewis's Woodpecker and Townsend's Warblers. But today was just a normal day, and there were just normal birds (life can be so so hard for birders). Now, I know I promised last week that I'd be one and done with duckling photos, but promises mean nothing to the birds! Encanto was overflowing with ducklings. I counted over 8 distinct Mallard families, each with 6 or more ducklings.

The Ducks weren't the only ones with young out and about. The Lovebird population at Encanto has always been pretty loud and large. Their numbers and noises were swelled by the numerous adolescents. The young Lovebirds have much less red on their face, have much darker coloration on their beaks, and they're noticeably smaller.

There were also some young Neotropic Cormorants hanging around. They were more petite than their older counterparts, and a little less shy. I'm assuming they're Neotropics from all of the brown, though to me the beaks actually look more Double-Crested. Any ideas?

This young un' looked to have a soggy diaper...

Birding at Encanto wasn't the original plan, but it was a nice evening. Their were lots of young birds and the weather dropped into the 70s for the first time this week. It's always good to have a Plan B.