September 28, 2021

A small home of my own with diversity to make my heart happy

Two years ago, I finally put down roots and bought a house to retire without a never ending rent payment. A sixth of an acre. There were mature pomegranates, mulberries, oleander, and a dying tree that might have been an almond. The yard has been a slow process. the Oleanders removed to be replaced by native vegetation. The mulberries and pomegranates pruned.
2021 has been so dry but I have been able to keep the newly planted Chinese elm, blue oak, brown turkey fig, autumn sage, and desert willows alive. This fall I'll plant native shrubs and seed the yard with native wildflowers in the never ending hopes of winter rains.
The diversity of this yard is pretty amazing for a small suburban lot in a rural area. Tennessee and Virginia Warblers are quite rare and they were my 99th and 100th bird species respectively.
LIZARDS
Southern Alligator Lizard
Legless Lizard (either Big Spring or San Diegan didn't get a good look at it)
Western Fence Lizard
Common Side-blotched Lizard
Tiger Whiptail
Desert Night Lizard
MAMMALS
Myotis sp.
Desert cottontail
White-tailed antelope ground squirrel
California ground squirrel
Botta's pocket gopher
House mouse
Coyote
Raccoon
Striped skunk
BIRDS
California Quail
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Lesser Nighthawk
White-throated Swift
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Anna's Hummingbird
Costa's Hummingbird
Calliope Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Golden Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Great Horned Owl
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Acorn Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Warbling Vireo
California Scrub-Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Oak Titmouse
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Bushtit
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
House Wren
Bewick's Wren
Cactus Wren
European Starling
Northern Mockingbird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Phainopepla
House Sparrow
House Finch
Purple Finch
Cassin's Finch
Red Crossbill
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
Lawrence's Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
White-crowned Sparrow
Bell's Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Western Meadowlark
Hooded Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting

Posted on September 28, 2021 18:40 by natureali natureali | 2 observations | 2 comments | Leave a comment

White-crowned Sparrow subspecies

There are five subspecies of White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) found in North America. Four of the subspecies are migratory but Z.l. pugatensis is considered a short distance migrant based on its primary projection.

Four subspecies are regular visitors to California but our wintering population mostly consists of Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows - Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelli. Gambel’s White-crowned Sparrows have a white/clear lore and orange bill, and long primary projection. The distinction is clear if you know what to look for as it is the most unique subspecies.

Zonotrichia leucophrys gambelii breeds in Alaska, the northern mainland of Canada to Hudson Bay, eastern British Columbia, and southwestern Alberta. This subspecies has pale lores and an orange bill, grayish coloring, pale brown wash on flanks, , dark reddish centers edged in light gray on back stripes feathering, whitish bend of wing, and long primary projections. The juveniles have reddish crown stripes and pale lores. Z.l. gambelii winters from Washington to California and east in a diagonal line to southern Nebraska to east central Texas.

Zonotrichia leucophrys leucophyrys breeds in northern Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, and northeastern Manitoba. This subspecies has dark lores and an reddish pink bill, grayish coloring, pale brown wash on flanks, dark reddish centers edged in light gray on back stripes feathering, whitish bend of wing, and long primary projections. It winters mostly east of the Z.l. gambelii subspecies but can be found together in a narrow strip from SE Nebraska to southern coastal Texas to western Louisiana north to southern Iowa. Its winter territory is contiguous east of the intergrade region it is found from MO south to LA and east to AL then north to Ohio and a small slice from VA to coastal MA. It is absent from most of MI, IL, NY, VT, NH, and ME and the Atlantic coastal plain south of Virginia.

Zonotrichia leucophrys oriantha breeds in mountainous western Alberta and montane areas of the western United States (eastern OR, CA, ID, Western MT and WY, CO, UT, and northern AZ and NM), in California it breeds from the eastern Cascades through the Sierra Nevada south to a small population in the San Jacinto Mtns in southern California. This subspecies has dark lores and an dark pink bill with the upper mandible at times dark gray, grayish coloring, pale brown wash on flanks, dark reddish centers edged in light gray on back stripes feathering, whitish bend of wing, and long primary projections. It normally winters in northern and central Mexico mostly north of Puerto Vallarta.

Z. l. leucophrys and Z. l. oriantha have dark lores and pink to dark reddish pink bills. Only the Z.l. oriantha are seen in California under normal circumstances.

White lored - short primary projection species exclusive to the west coast

Zonotrichia leucophrys pugetensis breeds along the Pacific Coast of North America ranging from Campbell River, Vancouver Island through northwestern California north of Cape Mendocino . It is migratory and can occasionally be found in inland Washington, Oregon, and California. It is most likely found along riparian systems or on the coast. This subspecies has pale/white lores and a dirty yellow bill, it tends toward browner coloring, extensive brown wash on sides and flanks, dusky black centers edged in tan on back stripe feathering, yellowish bend of wing, and short primary projections. In winter along the coast, the only way to really distinguish this subspecies from the non-migratory Z.l. nuttalli is by its lighter weight, shorter bill length, tarsus, and wing. This subspecies averages smaller and slightly lighter than the resident species.

Zonotrichia leucophrys nuttalli is non-migratory and the only subspecies found exclusively in California. It lives along a narrow band on Coast from Cape Mendocino in northwestern California to Santa Barbara County. Z. l. pugatensis and Z. l. nuttalli are virtually indistinguishable, with pale lores and dull yellowish bills. The Z.l. nuttalli average larger and the post ocular stripe averages browner than the Z.l. pugatensis the California subspecies is not found inland.

See Garrett and Dunn's paper for more information found here. http://www.cvbirds.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/White-Crowned-Sparrow-Subspecies.-Dunn-Garrett-and-Alderfer.-Birding.pdf

Posted on September 28, 2021 16:33 by natureali natureali | 4 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

June 29, 2019

20,000 observations on 28 June 2019

The snake who bit me.

Posted on June 29, 2019 01:16 by natureali natureali | 1 observation | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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