The Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas is one of our favourite birding spots in Southern California. For the past several years we came to the U.S. around mid-March and stayed for about a month. This year, my wife and I decided to come a month earlier. Being winter, the weather was naturally chilly.
The air was nippy the day we visited Bonelli Park. Although most of the birds we encountered were those familiar ones we've seen the prior years, this time there were some surprises. One of those was the Least Sandpiper. Somehow they were more in number than the more common Spotted Sandpiper.
Another unexpected sighting was that of the Buff-bellied Pipit. There were about a dozen of them flocked together foraging the rocks by the lakeside. Even though we've this species here before, this was the first time we saw so many individuals hunting for food together.
The California Scrub Jay seem to be growing in population and expanding their territories. We've never seen them in Bonelli before. And now they're here.
Finally as we were about to leave, a huge flock (!) of Band-tailed Pigeons flew in and fed on the ground. Again, this species wasn't as plentiful before when we only saw a few at Eaton Canyon in Pasadena.
We're glad that many of the local birds are proliferating.
The highlight of the day was when we saw some Turkey Vultures feeding on a carcass of what I believe to be a Raccoon. It was an unexpected, even shall I say, chilly, experience. It was as if we were in an African savanna watching nature in action in a most gory way.