While visiting the El Toro Memorial Memorial Park (cemetery) in Lake Forest for a local bird count, I had eventually stumbled upon the Varied Thrushes at the back end of the park around 2:40pm. This was near where the maintenance house is located just in front of the gated area. With their timid and skittish nature, standing still and enduring patience is essential to get better views. I counted a total of 3 as they remained well shaded and camouflaged in the oak trees. For brief moments they would forage at ground level. Any sudden sound of a car, tractor or passerby would send them up into the oaks trees. Brief bursts of flying between oak trees were the commonplace every 5 or 10 minutes. They were undisturbed by the presence of 7 to 8 acorn woodpeckers foraging and inhabiting the same localized area.
Approximately 10 minutes later I had viewed a lone raptor like bird flying toward my proximity. A closer examination (via binoculars) of the tail confirmed this was a Zone-tailed Hawk. Gray skies and overcast made for poor in flight captures as the subject was back lit. Spot Metering and over exposure of two full stops help greatly though increased the noise within the image.
Images of the Varied Thrush and Zone-tailed Hawk are below
Here’s a completed eBird list for today’s sightings – December 19, 2014.