Saturday, October 30, 2010


Beautiful morning after a delightful rain last night. Between 3rd. St. Coastal Access and the Audubon Overlook - Western and Least Sandpiper, Semipalmated and Black-bellied Plover, Sora, 3 Short-billed Dowitcher, Godwit, Willet, Greater Yellowleg, Long-billed Curlew, Forster's Tern, Northern Pintail. In the brush and reeds Red-winged Blackbird, White and Golden-crowned Sparrow, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Drizzle and more drizzle, damp and dark. Walked around the neighborhood. Near the corner of Pasadena and 3rd in a cluster of Monterey Cypress I could here the gentle chatter of Bushtits - hopefully it was a mixed flock. Sure enough, in the trees were Townsend's Warbler, Chickadee, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Bewick's Wren, and Red-breasted Nuthatch. On the bay side of the road I heard a big squawk - a Great Blue Heron had just landed on a branch. Could see nothing on the bay or around the Baywood Pier. Very quiet and peaceful morning.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


9:00 a.m., Morro Strand State Beach (photo). Weather overcast, mild, no wind. Tide on the way out. Heermann's Gull in large flocks. Feeding along the surf line were Long-billed Curlew, Whimbrel, Godwit, Willet, and 4 Black-bellied Plover. A few Surf Scoter could be seen in the ocean.

Cloisters Park - In January, for the Morro Bay Bird Festival, I will be leading 2 "Easy Birding" walks. I was delighted to see that fall birds had arrived in the park. In the large field south east of the lawn were Bluebird, Red-winged Blackbird, Meadowlark, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrow. Juvenile Black-crowned Night Heron were numerous around the pond. In the shrubbery were Wrentit, Spotted Towhee, Bewick's Wren, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and one Orange-crowned Warbler.

My last stop was Pecho Willows. Without too much effort saw the Black and White Warbler, a most magnificent bird. (Before I got into birding, I thought all Warblers were yellow.) Nearby were two vocal Hermit Thrush. What I really wanted to see was the Canada Warbler, as I had never seen one before. After about an hour of wending my way through the tangles, doing my best to avoid poison oak, and eventually, with help from a fellow birder, got a great look at this beautiful fast moving darling. At times it was directly in front of my face. Needless to say, that made my day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


The time was nearly 5:30. Sun well hidden by dense fog. Dashing about in the Cypress trees, in front of the Visitor Center, were 3 pair of Western Blue Bird, numerous Yellow-rumped Warbler and a pair of Townsend Warbler. They were finding insects (invisible to my eyes) on the tree trunks, on the ground, and in the air. I think these little insect eaters were gobbling down as much as they possibly could before night set in.

Earlier I had driven into the Campground. Two crows were chasing a tiny field mouse around the wide base of a Cypress. Eventually the mouse was caught by one of the crows, who then flew to the top of the Cypress and ate the little darling. First time I had observed this behavior. I knew Crows were scavengers but did not know they were hunters.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


This mornings 6.4 high tide caused the shore birds in the estuary to head for dryer ground. There were many hundreds of Least Sandpiper in the furthest pond on Turri Road (see photo). There was only a sheen of water on the pond. Many of the little peeps were settled into the clumps of pickleweed. None were feeding. When the tide goes out they will return to their feeding along the bay.

The weather was clear, windless and hot. We occasionally get 2 or 3 days of summer in October. At the Morro Bay Marina I walked east along the edge of the brush. The tidal water, moving swiftly into the estuary, cause the larger shore birds to move closer and closer to the edge of the estuary which makes them easy to observe. The Savannah Sparrow, who spends most of it time out in the Estuary Pickleweed, comes into the brush; they were numerous. Shorebirds were in the thousands: Willet, Long-billed Curlew, Wimbrel, Godwit, and Elegant and Forster's Tern. Ah, birding paradise!

On my return trip I stopped at a pullout on South Bay Blvd. to see what ducks had arrived. I was delighted at seeing, for the first time this season, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and Northern Shoveler. May have seen Green-winged Teal, but uncertain due to the distance. It makes my heart glad to know that, once again, these marvelous travelers have graced us with their presence.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Saturday birded with a couple of friends. Best birds at Islay Creek in Spooner's Cove (photo): Brewer's Sparrow and Willow Flycatcher. Up by the Visitor Center there were 6 plus Western Bluebirds dashing back and forth across the road. We really enjoyed their antics. We also observed 3 Wrentits chasing each other.

Only one Greater Yellowleg at the Turri Road Ponds. Most of the ponds have dried out. It takes a very high tide to fill them up. About a mile down the road we watched 4 or more Kingfishers chasing each other. A behavior none of us had seen before.

From the Marina Sandspit we observed a wild feeding frenzy out in the bay, saw and heard a flock of 20 White-fronted Geese fly in from the north and land out in the estuary; also sighted, flying over the west side of the bay, a med. size flock of Brant Geese. Bob, the sea otter, that comes into the marina on the incoming tide, was snoozing peacefully in his bed of kelp.

This afternoon, near the largest pond at Sea Pines Golf Course were 6 White-fronted Geese and at the smaller back pond, 20 Canada Geese. I was hoping to see a warbler or two in the willows by the putting green but no such luck.