Roadrunners in the Conejo Valley

The roadrunner is a chaparral bird that is a member of the cuckoo (Cuculidae) family of birds. They are found in the southwest U.S. and Mexico. These non-migratory birds live in mountainous shrubland, which is why you may seen them from time to time here in the Conejo Valley. These are great birds to have around, dining on insects (including tarantulas), snails, lizards and even rattlesnakes (because of their quickness, roadrunners are one of the few animals that dine on rattlesnakes).

Seen above is some brief footage of a roadrunner seen yesterday on Tarantula Hill and some other footage from Rancho Sierra Vista from last year.

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Counting Crows in the Conejo Valley and Nearby Communities

Counting crows. Maybe not literally, but figuratively, in the skies of the Conejo Valley, Simi Valley and beyond. We see the crows in the hundreds flying west in the morning and east in the evening ever so frequently here. These fellows were seen from the Conejo Valley Plaza, Moorpark and Janss Roads, the night of August 9, 2018.

Speaking of birds, the Conejo Valley Audubon Society hosts birding activities year-round.

California Quail Perched on MB2 Raceway Sign in Newbury Park

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It's the little things. 

Late this afternoon I was on a casual run on the streets of Newbury Park in the industrial area along Lawrence Drive. It was a beautiful day today and there was a cool breeze in the air.

As I cruised along, I noticed a bird perched on the MB2 Raceway sign west of the Rancho Conejo Boulevard intersection. This bird, a California quail, stopped me in my tracks.

I've seen quail out and about, but never as prominent as this one, with the comma-shaped crest on its head. This is a male California quail.

So I pulled out my camera and took a few photos before moving along on my way. He was o.k. with it, posing for me. Staying put on the MB2 sign.

Speaking of MB2, this Thousand Oaks location turns 10 years old this September. 

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Parakeets In Big Sycamore Canyon

A flock of black-hooded parakeets call Big Sycamore Canyon home.  As seen in the images provided by fine art photographer Greg Clure, more than four dozen of these birds live in the canyon. Twelve to fourteen inches in length with mostly green bodies with black heads and beaks, they are fairly large birds.  If you are fortunate enough to see one up close you will notice the pale blue wash on the breast and red thighs.

Mostly descendants of escaped or released cage birds, these parakeets now flourish in the temperate climate of Southern California.  You can typically find them roosting in the sycamore trees at dawn and dusk above the Big Sycamore Maintenance Station at the the entrance to the campground across PCH from Sycamore Cove.  During the day they can commonly be found throughout Big Sycamore Canyon from the campground up to 5 or 6 miles inland as they forage for food.  They are easy to find; just listen...they are the loudest sounding birds in the canyon.

The southern entrance to Big Sycamore Canyon is in Point Mugu State Park, located a few miles south of Mugu Rock/Pt. Mugu on PCH. It is about a 15 mile drive from the Camarillo Premium Outlets and about 25 miles from the heart of Thousand Oaks taking either the 101/Lewis Road route or the slightly slower, curvy and interesting Potrero Road route.  Alternatively, you can access Big Sycamore Canyon from the northern end at several points along Potrero Road between Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Hidden Valley at the southern edge of Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks.  A great place to hike or mountain bike, the next time you are in the canyon keep an eye out for these brightly colored members of the parrot family.

See more of Greg Clure Photography's Fine Art Images of Nature at www.gregclurephotography.com.

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