Monday, March 11, 2019

To Russia With Love

My idea of LA traffic:)
The mission to find 10,000 plus birds in this lifetime continues.  Today's trek takes us deep into the heart of LA. 

LA Traffic's version of traffic
It was an unexpected trek, or hiccup, in the overall scheme of things. Sometimes you just have to do it. The trek to Los Angeles from Phoenix can be a little over 6 hours by car.  And the traffic is the challenging part.

Allen's Hummingbirds are quite common along the coast of California
I have been buried by home and garden projects, house chores, bird books and research, lecture prep and travel work.  I don't mind a single bit of it, but it's the reason I took a break from blogging last week.  There just isn't any time.  Over the past several weeks, I've been out with lots of great people finding Arizona birds, but it was time to get back in the race. This trek was all about one bird, the Red-flanked Bluetail.

I had wanted to observe this bird but I didn't want to drive alone to LA.  Then Gordon mentioned the trek and it was done.  I'll be honest.  I'm still recovering from the weekend, but it was worth the chase.

Indian Peafowl at their best
The Bluetail has been hanging around the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library for about 3 months. It's the second record for California with most records up in Alaska.  So this bird is a long way down the North American coast. The bird is native to Northern Europe and this particular Bluetail may have crossed over from the Russian side into Alaska and then down as they do migrate in their home range.

Bewick's Wren
We stopped along the way and had some fun birding, but it was this Red-flanked Bluetail that became our target. We arrived to the library in beautiful weather.  Everyone has seen this bird and posted pics of it everywhere. But for both Gordon and myself, we needed this lifebird to just give us a little excitement again.  The last time we both added new birds to our life list was in the summer. Sometimes when things get a little slow, all I need to do is just chase a new bird to feel that adrenaline again.

With a little patience and being surrounded by wonderful people, we found our thrushy flycatcher acting bird. While we were there, the bird was secretive and always hid in the shadows, but that's because I believe the bird is a Russian spy:)

Red-flanked Bluetail
So like the guy who calls himself the US "president", I did a little colluding with a Russian bird.  It's not quite the same. Plus I don't think I'll go to jail for it:) 

Kurt and Gordon chat.  I catch Kurt in mid-thought.  These guys are great.
Anyhow, my work really begins to pick up over the next 4 months.  Like every spring I've been doing this, I always feel a little antsy.  I am an explorer at heart wanting to understand the natural bird world and how it relates to people from different cultures and societies. I get to put on my birder's ambassador hat this upcoming week.  Stay tuned for more!


  1. You sound as busy as ever Chris. These are lovely birds you photographs even the Russian Spy!!

  2. Hello! Wonderful post and photos. Thank you.

  3. A lovely series of photos Chris and well done on the new bird sighting :)

  4. Nice looking bird - looks a little (maybe more than a little) like the robins in the UK.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  5. Congratulations! What an amazing find. And what an amazing journey for the beautiful red-flanked bluetail! Even the name sounds exotic. I am sure you won’t go to jail for colluding with this Russian spy, but I sure wish our so called President would.


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