Eurasian Wigeon and Eastern Phoebe

I had a lunch meeting in Orange County today. On the way home, I decided to stretch the definition of “on the way” and stop at Madrona Marsh in Torrance. Madrona is a nice little wetland oasis in the middle of urban sprawl, and is known for having an amazingly large number of vagrant birds show up there. Today, I was specifically looking for two previously-reported species: Eurasian Wigeon and Eastern Phoebe.

Unlike my usual weekend and morning visits, there was nobody present today save for a few volunteers working on a vegetation project. I made a bee-line for the south pond, not stopping much to look at other birds, to try to find the Eurasian Wigeon. I walked up to the water’s edge, scanned with binoculars, and immediately located the bird with a flock of American Wigeon. It was swimming, however, and moved quickly behind an island of cattails before I could photograph it. I was a little disappointed.

I then made my way east, and followed the walkway south and then back west along the southern edge of the pond. I found a few more waterfowl species (Northern Pintail, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, etc.) but could not re-find the Wigeon. Working my way up the west side, I found an extremely cooperative American Kestrel.

American Kestrel, Madrona Marsh, Los Angeles County. Photo by Marcus C. England.

I eventually re-found the Wigeon, but it was on the opposite side of the marsh from me, and only remained visible for about ten seconds after I re-found it. I worked back the way I came, and eventually heard the call of the Eastern Phoebe. I soon found it, and got excellent views of the bird (not that I was that excited, as they are common in the east and I see them every time I visit family in Ohio), as well as some bad photographs as the camera insisted on focusing on the surrounding vegetation.

Eastern Phoebe, Madrona Marsh, Los Angeles County. Photo by Marcus C. England.

Shortly after finding the Phoebe, I re-found the Eurasian Wigeon. It was distant at first, but gradually made its way closer where I could get decent photographs of it with American Wigeon.

Eurasian Wigeon with American Wigeon and a Northern Shoveler, Madrona Marsh, Los Angeles County. Photo by Marcus C. England.

The Eastern Phoebe was a new species for me for California. The Eurasian Wigeon is a species I have seen before in Orange County, but was new for me for Los Angeles County. As I don’t have all of my notes in eBird (including, apparently, the outings where I saw Eurasian Wigeon), it showed up as a new species for Los Angeles County and for California. I now sit at 292 for California and 270 for Los Angeles County, with 93 species on the year. The complete bird list from this outing is located here:

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