Lesser Goldfinches

California sycamore trees are frequently seen in gardens and on public property around Southern California. The seed pods of the trees that dangle in winter are brown orbs, about one inch in diameter. But to lesser goldfinches, these seeds are lunch! Malibu Lagoon has sycamores growing between the Pacific Coast Highway and the estuary. OnContinue reading “Lesser Goldfinches”

Red-Tailed Hawk

A noticeable decline in birdseed consumption in our back yard has us wondering: what’s changed? There’s a new cat prowling the neighborhood, and we’ve had a couple of Santa Ana wind events. The birdseed didn’t smell rancid. Why the downturn in our feeder traffic? This juvenile red-tailed hawk might be a key.  Notice that itContinue reading “Red-Tailed Hawk”

Western Snowy Plover

Malibu Lagoon is the only place in the Santa Monica Mountains where freshwater drains to the Pacific. Malibu Creek’s watershed is a valuable source of water for much wildlife and feeds the lagoon.  The estuary’s water level fluctuates, depending on rainfall and the tides’ impact on Surfrider Beach. Water morphs from freshwater at the Creek,Continue reading “Western Snowy Plover”

Sharp-Shinned Hawk or Cooper’s Hawk?

We have two bird feeders in the pergola and enjoy the daily chittering and alarm calls of lesser goldfinches, juncos, house and purple finches, and the dedicated mourning doves who pick up any spillage. But in the last few months, we’ve noticed these birds are being eaten by neighborhood hawks. Just last week, the hawkContinue reading “Sharp-Shinned Hawk or Cooper’s Hawk?”

By-the-Wind Sailor

One delight of walking the shore is seeing what treasures have washed up with the tide.  Yesterday morning, we spotted several blue-gray colored oval shapes in the wrack. At first glance, I thought that a trove of rare blue beach glass was underfoot. On closer examination, I realized the sapphire blue-rimmed discs had translucent triangular sailsContinue reading “By-the-Wind Sailor”

Cactus Wren

Joshua Tree National Park is a treasure of geologic wonders that impress with each turn in the road. A bit of patience is required to spot animal residents.  We recently visited the park and saw this cactus wren. This species is a non-migratory song bird ranging from southeastern California to southern Arizona and New Mexico.Continue reading “Cactus Wren”