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Saturday, February 20, 2016

Content as a fat cat(Cal. at UCLA)

So I was contented as a fat cat watching the matches;

you know why!

'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED'!

Le Conte Thrasher, check!
Sage Thrasher, check!
Taking pic of Long-eared Owl, check!

What a day lol.

This time drove to the correct location, and soon found a Sage Thrasher; rather far but unmistakable, because it was definitely bigger, had longer tail and bill than nearby Sparrows for comparison(At Antelope Valley you really need a scope).


And heard low guttural drill-like vocalization; not seen, so just a speculation; is it from a Great Roadrunner? Dunno.

Anyway, a bit later spotted a birder couple east of me; so scoped them lol.  And a guy was inside the field, taking a pic of a bird quite nearby...

the shape, size, unmistakable. Too far to make out but the only candidate I could think of was Le Conte's Thrasher(Sage Thrasher is a bit smaller; smallest Thrasher in the U.S.)!!!

So instantly packed my scope and drove there in a blink lol. About 9 electrical posts east from the junction of 60th. St. W & Ave. B.
The woman shyly pointed out north, just where the guy was(he was coming back to the road edge). So scanned;

A bit later, a bird popped out into view, perched on a brush; light color....



AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Le Conte Thrasher AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Haha. Do you know how hard it is to spot that species lol. We couldn't spot it last Spring when us Pasadena Audubon members birded nearby Piute Ponds(well some did methinks, but majority of us missed it).  I was rather hoping for it to sing, but didn't. Maybe it sings at dawn and dusk only. Should I come again even earlier, at dawn? The Scheels did and got a terrific photo(at ebird), but can't bother lol, I'm too lazy.

The guy said there was another one quite nearby, and said there's possibly total 3 of them. They birded the place yesterday as well.  So thanked them, and waited a bit longer after they left, but no luck. No matter, I was satisfied.

Oh almost an afterthought lol;

100 Snow Geese were south of the Ave., right beside where the horses were kept;



And many Swallows were flying around, dunno which one, should check the ebird reports to confirm. Think is Tree Swallow.

So, onto Apollo Park!  Met a birder from San Luis Obispo; he said he drove 3 hours to spot that LOEW!  Soon two Pasadena Audubon members(one for sure) joined us, and we scanned the western fence area, as reported; no luck.

So left them early and decided to hunt for it myself!  No luck at the north part, although there were like 5 pellets from a small dense pine;




As I said before; dense evergreens. Lesson I learned when we hunted for the Owls last month here; Barn Owl and Great-horned Owl. Dunno how they manage to slip into those dense foliage lol, but there.

Finally found it, again, at the SE corner; this time across the road(last time it was in the tree right next to the pond edge), near the fence.  I didn't even have to go under it and peer up lol, because I could see it perfectly at some distance, almost eye-level.



This time it cooperated nicely, 'posing' wide-eyed for me to take 2 pics and to see a bit via my bino!  Didn't want to harass it further, so respectfully 'retreated' thanking for its 'largesse' lol. This one didn't seem too scary lol, maybe it's a younger one. Like 5 birds are reported here, but only found one, and that was enough for me.

Hurrah! :)

Arrived JIT(just in time) for the match.  The Katzs were there! So said hello, and joked to Zoe that she was rooting for..haha.

And PAPA BEAR!!!  He didn't collapse from the heart attack when he heard his beloved team won NTI lol. He has been busy like me, but from commuting to hospital :(  He didn't attend yesterday(I so wanted to 'boast' to him about the Stadium's shade structure lol), for the fear of...traffic lol.  Anyway so glad to see him again.

Didn't even know the Millers were there, didn't bring my bino lol. Said hello after the match.

Oh, and was that...McCall Jones???!! 'The Winner'!  Did she get married? Even seemed to have a baby, congrats.

Young Webster duo were with their dad :)

#1 California 5, #22 UCLA
2 Feb 20, 2016 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)

Oh man, as I told the Millers, I'm afraid for SC lol. UCLA fought well. Actually the lower positions won, Miller/Wiley and Fleming, so that's a very good result for UCLA of course. Because Cat and Kyle can beat almost everybody at their positions, including doubles.

Doubles competition

1. Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) def. #2 Manasse/Starr (CAL) 6-3

Like yesterday the Bears were serving well, umm, dunno what happened later. Errors methinks. Didn't get overpowered, just committed some errors after tense rallies, especially volleys. Maegan can produce enormous pace, but netted those attacks at times.

2. Fabikova/Hauger (CAL) def. Fleming/Shaffer (UCLA) 6-0

Olivia's serve was again targetted mercilessly even by Kelly. Good tactic of course. But basically Klara was too good.

3. Miller/Wiley (UCLA) def. Chi/Lin (CAL) 6-2

Very encouraging win by the Bruins. Sure the Bears made some errors, but the Bruins played well. Didn't lose the drive battle of course(when you have Miller, you don't really lose those lol), and played pretty solidly throughout.  Some bad choices as usual but no doubt could get better.
Was mainly concentrating on #1 doubles(because I wasn't really going to watch Denise play singles, nid she would win) though.

Singles competition

Naturally concentrated on top 3, rarely watched the lower courts.
STAR WARS of course. NIIC finalist, NCAA finalist, Ojai winners and finalist, ISC G16 winner...feasted on those star's performances, not only from...PIZZA!!!

Yeah UCLA not only outdid themselves by playing well, but by providing..LOTS OF PIZZA!!! Whenever did UCLA beat USC in this regard lol. Sure USC's burrito yesterday was yummier, but they provided only 1, whereas I ate like 4 pieces today at LATC, gorged myself lol. Thank ye!

1. #13 Maegan Manasse (CAL) def. #18 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) 4-6, 6-2, 6-2

Cat just hits SO well lol.  Maegan was again committing errors, but I think she was able to lessen those later on. And returned well. Was actually impressed with her defense; could move pretty well, so could return lots of Cat's blazing attacks; ended in Cat's errors. Of course her serving well mattered as well.
Maegan has been losing a lot recently(but of course playing #1 is not easy), so this should be a confidence booster.

2. #5 Klara Fabikova (CAL) def. Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) 3-6, 6-4, 6-2

It was like a dejavu of 2011 NCAA Team final Burdette vs Embree.

Difference? Klara didn't falter.

Kyle was even more dangerous imo than Embree because she could attack sharply with flat drives; Klara could actually return lots of them, with pace. Very impressed with her movement and concentration on those on the run shots. Could handle low shots by bending knees as well. 

But of course Klara is an offense-oriented player; kept pressing, hard. Attacked and attacked. Did make some wtf errors just like Mal then lol, but carried on.
Sharp angles, in and out...what a courageous play. Finally could overwhelm Kyle with repeated pounding, which is quite a feat in itself of course(you have to play well to beat Kyle, Kyle's defense is that good).

She likes to come to the net a lot, which could be a bit risky against a good passer like Kyle. But not bad, because she herself is an excellent volleyer.

 3. Lynn Chi (CAL) def. Alaina Miller (UCLA) 6-1, 7-5

That should be a new experience for Alaina lol. Getting overwhelmed. I mean she won a set against Liu by outhitting her lol, so imagine Lynn's sheer power. How else could Lynn advance to NCAA final, of course. Almost the first thing I remember of Lynn was her blowing Christina Makarova off(which is of course NOT easy) at the National, by the way.

But as you can see from the 2nd set score, Alaina could in turn overwhelm Lynn with her massive pace and angles. Quite an effort, but I expect nothing less :p  She's playing upper positions, which should be an invaluable experience. And which of course will bear fruit later on.

4. #121 Denise Starr (CAL) def. Kristin Wiley (UCLA) 6-1, 6-0

Denise just too good. She's playing #4 from playing #1 from her freshman season lol, so should win this :p

5. Terri Fleming (UCLA) def. #102 Olivia Hauger (CAL) 6-1, 7-5

Terri basically overwhelmed Olivia. Quite focused today, and also fired up.  Plus, her variety such as drop shot as usual, just like Cat's; verra effective.
Olivia played better in the 2nd set, returning patiently and sharply, but eventually succumbed to Terri's power.

6. Karla Popovic (CAL) def. Laura Luca (UCLA) 6-0, 6-0

Match Notes
California 8-0; National ranking #1
UCLA 5-3; National ranking #22
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (6,4,3,5,2,1)

Thought of congratulating the Bears for the NTI win lol, but they were having a 'victory lap(warming 'down' of course)', so just left. Traffic was not too severe! Papa Bear already left methinks, for fear of traffic maybe lol. Hope to see him again at Ojai!

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