Kites of Spring

This weekend Lanny will be leading a hike near and dear to my heart.  The annual “Walk-n-Roll” is the world’s only wheelchair accessible nature hike and happens to take place on the trail we’ve been trying so hard to restore.  As you pass my sad thirsty little plants please say a prayer and think happy thoughts, they have a tough six months ahead. Meet at the trailhead at 9am.

Last Saturday Jesse and his merry band of Avid Avian Avocationers (that’s not a word!) did a bird walk on the Ojai Meadow Preserve.  They spotted almost 40 different species, (including the aforementioned kite), here are some of the highlights.

Wilson’s Warbler is a colorful yellow fellow with a distinct black cap.  They eat insects and berries and are sometimes polygamous.  Naughty warbler!

Wilson's warbler

Wilson’s warbler

Green Herons are one of the few birds to use bait to attract prey.  They will drop crusts of bread, earthworms, insects or even twigs onto the surface of the water and wait for any unsuspecting takers.

Green heron

Green heron

Lincoln’s Sparrows prefer wet marshy areas like the Ojai Meadow.  Spending most of their time hopping along the ground searching for food, they are differentiated from other sparrows by the fine streaks across their chest.

Lincoln's sparrow

Lincoln’s sparrow

Killdeer get their name from the harsh loud call.  They spend much of their time running along the ground, and have a “fake broken wing” schtick to keep predators away from their nests.



Cassin’s kingbird is a loud flycatcher with distinct gray head and yellow belly.  Sitting perched on a fence post they quickly swoop in for insect prey then return to the same spot.

Cassin's kingbird

Cassin’s kingbird

Bullock’s oriole has similar colors to the Hooded oriole, sans hood, with an eye stripe instead.

Bullock's oriole

Bullock’s oriole

Cinnamon teal moms build their nests completely concealed in dead plant matter, they reach it through tunnels.

Cinnamon teal

Cinnamon teal

Northern rough-winged swallows get their name from the small barb like appendages on the outer wing feathers, whose purpose is unknown

Northern rough-winged sparrow

Northern rough-winged sparrow

Wilson’s snipe’s long bill is flexible, it can be opened and closed with no movement at the base of the bill.  They almost always have clutches of 4 eggs, dad takes the first two that hatch and leaves, mom keeps the other two, and they split forever.

Wilson's snipe

Wilson’s snipe

Common yellowthroat has a distinct black mask and a “witch-ity witch-ity” call, which helps as they are more often heard than seen.

Common yellowthroat

Common yellowthroat

If you are a beginner and would like to learn more Allen Bertke is leading a hike tomorrow at Persimmon Hill.  Have a good weekend.

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One Response to Kites of Spring

  1. Lanny says:

    I think the actual word you were looking for is “avocationeers.” My own official title is “Avocational Ethnobotanist.” I’ve been using it for years, ever since ethnobotany became sexy and cool. I do have a Biology degree but they didn’t have classes in ethnobotany in those days. Thanks for letting folks know about the Walk ‘n’ Roll. I may have missed it but I didn’t see a link so here’s one:

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