I visited a local wilderness park that encompasses coastal sage scrub habitat as well as vernal ponds. In the sage scrub habitat, I observed several species, including a Great-Tailed Grackle and an Allen's Hummingbird. In the ponds, I observed a Snowy Egret as well as a Ruddy Duck. I also saw swallows and terns flying above the ponds, but I was not able to identify the exact species.
House Sparrows enjoy dust bathing in the dry, sandy patches of my backyard. I wondered if they might prefer a water bathing area, so I bought a 20" plastic birdbath (the hanging type) but placed it in a raised planter bed instead of suspending it. So far, I have observed only one sparrow using it! So dust bathing must be very effective as a means for cleaning feathers.
Using the bird ID strategies from this lesson and the Merlin app, I was able to identify two different species that I had previously thought were the same bird. Hutton's Vireo and the Orange-Crowned Warbler are both small, olive green, insect-eating birds, but have distinct differences in markings. The white wing bars and eye rings of the Hutton's Vireo now stand out to me as distinguishing markings.