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Monday, January 9, 2012

Black birds and Surfbird behavior

I've started working towards photographing as many species as possible on Bodega Head.  During the past year I have been trying to take more bird pictures.  Black Phoebe is one species that has been on my wish list. This small flycatcher is common and easily found, but tends to be shy when approached by photographers.  Here is the best shot so far.

During the past weekend I also photographed several other "black birds" -- that is, birds with black in their names.  See below for Black Oystercatcher (with bright orange bills) and Black Turnstone.  [There are 5 other "black birds" that have been recorded on Bodega Head (not counting hyphenated or compound words) -- stay tuned for more in the future!]

While photographing the Black Turnstone, a small group of turnstones and Surfbirds flew in to a high tidepool and started bathing in the fresh water.  At first it was amicable, and then one Surfbird became very aggressive and began chasing other birds that approached the pools (see photo below).

Tonight I read about other observations of Surfbird aggression.  At The Birds of North America online, I found this quote:

Connors (1977) observed interactions at small tidal pools in which several Surfbirds attempted to bathe: Two birds would face each other and chatter, sometimes jabbing; loser would move off, while winner bathed in tidal pool.

Fun to realize that the Connors mentioned above is Carolyn Connors from Salmon Creek!

Three turnstones and one Surfbird bathing:

Surfbird aggression


Anonymous said...

do you have a birding check list for bodega head ???? c

Anonymous said...

Well, that observation was quite a while ago. I'm glad to see that the surfbirds are still up to their old tricks. Great blog, Jackie.
from Carolyn Connors