|This guy was little like the "Lady in the Fountain" from the movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun". He was a bit "off"|
The islands off of the Southern California coast are some of the best places to visit. Surprisingly they, unlike their neighbors on the nearby coast, are not overcrowded with people. Once we arrived, I knew we were going to have fun birding this island.
Again, the people fascinated me. They were a different group. The lady below was busy chatting with a friend from her porch. That's not something you see much of these days anymore!
We wandered some along the rocky coastline and found our very own Wandering Tattler!
We had some cloudy weather the first day, but it cleared up on the second. In the pic below, you see the old casino. It's an entertainment building for movies and weddings, etc. It actually doesn't have any gambling at all.
It was easy to get distracted here, but our mission was to find the last stable colony of Spotted Doves. In 1917, these birds were introduced and had established themselves over the years in the LA area. But as time has gone on, these birds have almost completely vanished from the urban sprawl of Southern California. They are rare now in much of LA County with only a few left at the Colonel Leon H. Washington Park and several other nearby locations. And of course there are random sightings "here and there". We were on vacation and I didn't want to be spending it in LA. Several California birders came to Arizona in January and tipped me off that there was still a reliable place to find these birds. Catalina Island.
Once we found our doves, it was time to relax and enjoy the rest of our vacation.
We hiked along the shores. And eventually we went into the rugged interior of the island.
|Striped Shore Crab|
Eventually we found a small group of bison. Keeping our distance, we snapped pics.
With our mission accomplished, it was time to return back to the mainland. On our way back on the Catalina Express, I found a super rare Red-billed Tropicbird! I struggled with my gear, but I was able to snap off some ID'able shots of the bird before it disappeared. It was a rare bird alert for the U.S.! Getting a pic for these situations is important. For one, it lets people know that you aren't making it up. And second, it erases any doubt that the bird may have been ID'd incorrectly.
The express took us home and it was back to Arizona again. For the Catalina Island report click here. What an amazing adventure! Until next time.......
And never let this happen to you:) Thanks Magill for the laugh!