Birding Upper Newport Bay Ecological Reserve

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!

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It was a woodpecker! A very spotty one that I hadn’t seen before…

 

Northern Flicker

A Northern Flicker

 

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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….

 

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The start of the trail just below the Marriott Hotel…

 

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View across the San Diego Creek to the Back Bay Loop with the sun blazing at 830am

 

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Female goldfinch

 

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female goldfinch

 

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Northern mockingbird

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northern mockingbird

 

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black phoebe

 

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white crowned sparrow

 

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white crowned sparrow

 

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Male house finch

 

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and then busily zipping around in the shrubbery was this blue grey gnatcatcher

 

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blue grey gnatcatcher

 

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and then this charmer appeared…a yellow rumped warbler

 

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The yellow rump peeping out

 

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yellow rumped warbler taking flight

 

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Say’s Phoebe

 

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spotted towhee

 

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and then this woodpecker appeared…

 

Nuttall's Woodpecker

A Nuttall’s woodpecker….distinguished from the Downy woodpecker by the greater spotting on the wing as seen here

 

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the terrain was gentle

 

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and then in a buzz, this colourful blur zipped past me….

 

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the always beautiful Annas Hummingbird…here with its head turned away showing an all black gorget

 

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and here turning to face me with its amazingly red violet gorget catching the sunlight

 

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The beautiful Anna’s HB with its green back and purple gorget

 

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the well camouflaged Anna’s HB

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And not far away from the Anna’s, the Allen’s HB with its distinctive green and brown colouring…

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Allen’s Hummingbird

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Like the Anna’s, the Allen’s HB exhibits a dark throat when looking sideways..

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But its gorget also explodes into a brilliant gold display when he turns to the sun…

 

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Allen’s Hummingbird in full glory

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halfway along, the trail is this wooden bridge where there was more activity…

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Lots of little brown and grey jobs were on the bridge…a bushtit

 

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busy bushtits were everywhere

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The first raptor of the day ….the magnificent Merlin….

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he perched and posed

 

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the Merlin

 

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the wooden bridge in monochrome

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and on this branch appeared a Cassin’s Kingbird

 

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Cassin’s Kingbird with its typical white chin patch

 

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bushtits again…

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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.

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Mourning Dove

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…the Belted Kingfisher

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the male Belted Kingfisher without the brown band on the breast of the female

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Final bird of the morning….the common yellowthroat

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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.

 

 

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