|Western Tiger Swallowtail|
|Arctic Tern-blood red/orange thickish shorter bill|
We did well staying away from people, but people gravitated towards each other and we had to be conscience of this. Thankfully Cheroot, the wonder dog, helped maintain social distance with his grouchy demeanor. He's really not grouchy. He loves hanging with his friends, but he doesn't like strangers! Or dogs off their leash! I don't have a dog because I'm a cat person but dog owners are sometimes so irresponsible. Sure, you're dog is friendly and so am I. However, some dogs are not friendly and are put on a leash for a reason(besides it being the law! to protect wildlife) "Free dogs" who are social put themselves in danger by running up to defensive pooches. It was a new element to our birding that I hadn't much thought about. A lady in Balboa Park laughed and said her unleashed dog was friendly and that it was "okay". Yes, we love your dog, but Cheroot will rip the dog apart because of your negligence! If I were a cat, I'd hiss.
Another tern that I know well is the Caspian Tern. It breeds along the shores of Lake Michigan in my home state of Wisconsin. This tern is widespread and a bulky tern with a heavy orange bill with a dark end. This was the second most common tern species along the coastal waters.
A tern that I had been wanting to observe in the wild finally happened on this trek. All of my friends have seen this species except me:) That was such a wonderful discovery. I thought I had seen one fly over my head. My heart skipped a beat and my pace quickened on the beach towards the salt marsh. These birds were outside the clouds of terns over the estuary. They were fishing from the calmer waters of the salt marsh. Easy to ID with that nice black bill.
|The end of the pier behind Celeste is where you can find the Pelagic Cormorants, when it opens again. Great eats along that road as well|
Other stops included the beautiful Imperial Beach and Tijuana Slough, La Jolla coastal area, Torrey-Pines State Park, the Bird and Butterfly Garden near the Tijuana border, and Sunset Cliffs Natural Park where we saw this beautiful California Thrasher below.
Maybe not exciting, but I think beautiful, the Western Gulls were nesting along the coastal cliffs.
|juvenile Green Heron|
So if you are chasing terns along the coast of Southern California, here are the terns we saw most to least being the Least:)
1. Elegant Tern-the most common
2. Caspian Tern
3. Forster's Tern
4. Gull-billed Tern
5. Royal Tern
6. Least Tern
We're back in Southern Arizona enduring the heat and wildfires. Please think good thoughts for our Mt. Lemmon. The Bighorn Fire was caused by a lightning strike for about a week now. As we were arriving back into Tucson, we hit the huge lightning storm. It has done some major damage to the mountain. I hope we can get it under control. Fire is good but it's not cool when you have your friend's home in danger of getting burned down. It's painful to watch the wildlife flee their homes off the mountain. June is already a stressful time for all the critters with water and heat being major factors. And the smoke! Is it covid or smoke that's causing the headaches? It's one thing after another these days. Next week, we take a longer and deeper look into the magic of Southeastern Arizona birding.
|Not my image, from ABC 15 news|