Sunday, May 31, 2015

Common Gallinule at San Luis Rey River Mouth

Les and Marlowe visited us for lunch last weekend on their road trip from Oregon. Afterwards we made an impromptu trip to the beach at the San Luis Rey River Mouth in Oceanside. While Marlene and Sabrina took Daphne to play on the nearby beach, Marlowe, Les, and I walked around the river mouth and Marlowe and I photographed some of the birds.

Marlowe just started birding a couple of years ago. Her life list was sitting at 199 after I showed her where to find a Hooded Oriole and Cassin's Kingbird in San Marcos. She was about to add several more species she had never seen before.

Marlowe's photos can be found on her blog: Marlowe's Bird Lists and Photos: "Trip to Southern California."

We spotted a duck-like bird with a red bill swimming in the river. Marlowe wasn't sure what it was, and I didn't tell her.

Common Gallinule
"What in the world could THAT be?"
I had her pay special attention to the shape of the bill and the feet. Hmm... it had a pointed bill that extended up the forehead. And look at those long toes!

Common Gallinule

If it doesn't have a flat bill like a duck, and doesn't have webbed feet like a duck, it must not be a duck! Marlowe then decided it might be in the rail family. But I didn't help her any more than that. The ID would be her homework. I do that sometimes.

Common Gallinule

This wasn't her only new bird. But I bet she remembers this first sighting for many years.

Common Gallinule
Common Gallinule. Oceanside, California. May 24, 2015. Greg Gillson.