Birding Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve
When: December 2018. Weather : Cool 10-18C
Nikon P900. Leica M10P 35mm summilux and 15mm Voigtlander
Stepping out of my hotel room at the Hyatt regency to start my birding morning, I saw some movement in a palm tree next to the swimming pool….my birding started from the moment I left my room!
It was a woodpecker! A very spotty one that I hadn’t seen before…
A Northern Flicker
Here with a clear view of the red cheeks..the norther flicker…what a great way to start the morning
Having birded the Back Bay Loop from Eastbluff Drive down to Science Centre a couple of years ago I decided to do the other part of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve, starting on Bayview Way just next to the Marriott Hotel there and heading west towards the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Centre. Staying at the Hyatt Regency at the bottom of Jamboree, it was a quick 5 min ride up Jamboree across the bridge and left turn into BayView Way arriving at 830am. The sun was already fairly high up….
The start of the trail just below the Marriott Hotel…
View across the San Diego Creek to the Back Bay Loop with the sun blazing at 830am
white crowned sparrow
white crowned sparrow
Male house finch
and then busily zipping around in the shrubbery was this blue grey gnatcatcher
blue grey gnatcatcher
and then this charmer appeared…a yellow rumped warbler
The yellow rump peeping out
yellow rumped warbler taking flight
and then this woodpecker appeared…
A Nuttall’s woodpecker….distinguished from the Downy woodpecker by the greater spotting on the wing as seen here
the terrain was gentle
and then in a buzz, this colourful blur zipped past me….
the always beautiful Annas Hummingbird…here with its head turned away showing an all black gorget
and here turning to face me with its amazingly red violet gorget catching the sunlight
The beautiful Anna’s HB with its green back and purple gorget
the well camouflaged Anna’s HB
And not far away from the Anna’s, the Allen’s HB with its distinctive green and brown colouring…
Like the Anna’s, the Allen’s HB exhibits a dark throat when looking sideways..
But its gorget also explodes into a brilliant gold display when he turns to the sun…
Allen’s Hummingbird in full glory
halfway along, the trail is this wooden bridge where there was more activity…
Lots of little brown and grey jobs were on the bridge…a bushtit
busy bushtits were everywhere
The first raptor of the day ….the magnificent Merlin….
he perched and posed
the wooden bridge in monochrome
and on this branch appeared a Cassin’s Kingbird
Cassin’s Kingbird with its typical white chin patch
and thento my surprise a flock of scaly breasted munias flew in…I see them commonly in Asia. Also known as the nutmeg mannikin here.
…the Belted Kingfisher
the male Belted Kingfisher without the brown band on the breast of the female
Final bird of the morning….the common yellowthroat
the end of the trail is the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Centre…a welcome respite from the midday sun..there is a beautifully produced movie in the theatre which will be played for you if you ask at the desk
This trail on the west side of the San Diego Creek was almost as entertaining as the East side which I had done a couple of years earlier; there was almost always something to see every so often and it yielded many lifers. Highly recommended.
Thanks to Bob Kaufman for help in identifying birds.