This week has been exciting and new in terms of shorebirds. I’ve found myself getting better at bird identification as time goes on. The two shorebird surveys I did this week at Ballona Wetlands have made me more confident in being out by myself. One shorebird that I seem to be having the biggest trouble with is Black-bellied Plovers. These birds seem to have a wider variety in plumage and I’ve seen them from their winter to their breeding plumage. Here in Los Angeles, the most common shorebirds are Willets, Surfbirds, and Least Sandpipers. Some of the vegetation in the wetlands makes it difficult to count and identify all the Least Sandpipers. However, I am happy that I can take my time to get my count and identification as accurate as possible, because with time these skills grow stronger.

The weather here in Los Angeles fluctuates more often than someone would think. Last week it was hot and sunny, this week it was windy, cooler, and cloudier. With my school schedule, I seem to be going out at a different time and under different conditions each week. It’s interesting to see how the numbers of shorebirds fluctuate. My favorite part of my surveys has been seeing birds that I don’t commonly see. The least common birds seen here are Semipalmated Plovers, Killdeer, Black Turnstone, and Spotted Sandpipers. Each bird has different characteristics and, as time goes on, I find myself noticing this behavior and using it to identify the birds. Another interesting part of my surveys is human interaction. A lot of people are curious about what I’m doing. Many people think that I’m out capturing pictures or filming something. Nonetheless, I often get interesting questions regarding birds, even though I can’t seem to answer them yet. Hopefully someday I will be able to, and that’s a point I hope to get to soon.


Photo of a Surfbird in the front and Sanderling in the back

Photo of two Black-bellied Plovers in non-breeding plumage


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