Thursday, February 12, 2015

Roadrunner at Tijuana River Valley

Greater Roadrunner
Greater Roadrunner. Tijuana River Valley, California. January 18, 2015. Greg Gillson.
A few weeks ago Marlene and I drove down to the border with Mexico and birded the Tijuana River Valley. We drove out the road to Border Field State Park, but it was closed to vehicles. There is a $5 fee to drive, and only open on weekends, but often closed for 3 weeks or more after the latest winter rains, due to road flooding. The park is open to pedestrians and equestrians, though. But we didn't really feel like walking on this day.

As we turned around and pulled over to decide our next area to explore, a roadrunner scooted across the road. It took a bit to get my camera out of the back seat. By the time I was ready to shoot a photo, the bird was walking behind a chain link fence and "hiding" behind additional weeds (top photo).

The bird stopped at a dirt track and began singing--a soft series of low descending cooing notes, similar to other closely related cuckoos. It also snapped its mandibles together rapidly to make a rattling sound. Marlene was somewhat surprised, expecting more of a "beep! beep!" as one would infer from watching Acceleratti incredibilis as a child.

Greater Roadrunner

A few moments later, however, it appeared on the top of the fence--of course, on the opposite side of the car. So I crawled out the window partway to shoot across the car to obtain these additional photos.

Greater Roadrunner