Saturday, November 27, 2010


The Estero Bluffs State Park (photo) is along Hwy One north of Cayucos. (Weather: Coolish, cloudy, no wind) The shoreline is dotted with rugged rock formations and quite coves. Today we were the only people walking the trail (this park has yet to be discovered). Almost every rock had a harbor seal resting upon it. The sea was so quiet that the seals could rest on partly submerged rocks without floating off. They were all on their backs with their flippers pointing up, which was quite a humorous position. In the water around the rocks were, at least, 14 Red-breasted Merganser and several male Surf Scoter in their black and white finery. We saw one Spotted Sandpiper and a Black Oystercatcher.

Checked out Cloisters Park on the way home. At first it seemed very quiet, and as I hung around for awhile, the birds began to appear. Great view of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Spotted Towhee, Golden-crowned Sp. Around the inside of the pond were numerous Black-crowned Night Herons. Conspicuous by their absence were Red-winged Black Bird, Grackle, Sora, Virginia Rail and Meadowlark. I am hoping that the missing birds will show up for the "Easy Birding Walks" on Jan. 15 and 16. (birding hint - bird calls found on iBird Explorer can be very useful)

Saturday, November 20, 2010


On my way to run a few errands this morning I stopped at Sweet Springs. The day was magnificent with baby blue sky and puffy cumulus clouds. Sleeping in the pickleweed that line the channels, were several groups of Blue-winged Teal (photo, male Blue-winged Teal). Had to really look to see them, as they blended in perfectly with the vegetation.

Close to the overlook were about 28 Ruddy Duck (first sighting of the season). Love their perky tail feathers. Two Brant were nearby.

Not in a big hurry, I checked the ponds at Sea Pines Golf Course. Between the two ponds were 48 Coots; in the center of the flock were two Canada Goose. The flock was so intent upon feeding that they did not so much as raise an eyebrow when a golf ball landed in their midst.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Birded with Linda this morning. Between the 3rd St. Coastal Access and the 4th St. Audubon Overlook we saw, all the usual shorebirds and ducks. A flock of Brant Goose were close to the shore. Best birds were Pectoral Sandpiper (feeding by itself, directly in front of us - see photo), Avocets, and a Kingfisher.

Next stop, Turri Road Ponds. At the first pond was a Bonaparte's Gull. The small, most adorable gull, was feeding in the style of a Phalarope. Bonaparte's Gull was named after a nephew of Napoleon who was a leading ornithologist in the 1800's. It is the only gull that regularly nests in trees. At one point the Bonaparte's and a Greater Yellowleg were resting on a small patch of Pickleweed in the middle of the pond.

Morro Bay Marina - We were delighted to get a close look at a Red-throated Loon. At the mouth of the marina was a Common Loon and a Spotted Sandpiper. Great Morning!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Drove north on Hwy 1 to Pacific Grove. Feeding along the creek at San Simeon State Park, were 8 Dowitchers. Were they Long-billed or Short-billed Dowitchers? The long-billed variety is more likely to be seen near fresh water than the short-billed, so perhaps they were Long-billed Dowitcher and then again, perhaps not. I do enjoy the conundrums of birding. A male Kingfisher was diving for his breakfast (at least I had no trouble identifying him).

Point Lobos State Park - Windy, clear, and beautiful. Many Cormorants, Pelicans, Sea Lions, numerous Yellow-rumped Warbler and a few White-crowned Sp. Did not see any shore birds. The swells were large and crashing against the rocks.

Pacific Grove - (photo) There is an excellent path that winds along the entire coast of Pacific Beach. (every other person in Pacific Grove, regardless of age, jogs) The waves had deposited large piles of kelp on the rocks. Feasting on kelp flies were flocks of Black Turnstone. There are nearly the same color as the wet kelp and when not moving can be difficult to see. Joining in on the yummy feast were numerous Yellow-rumped Warbler (my those little guys get around) and Black Phoebe.

Came across a birder with a scope. He showed me my very first view of a Northern Fulmer (exciting). They were flying by and bobbing in the swells.

Asilomar State Beach - On the rocks were Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Willet, Sanderling, and Whimbrel. Two of the Whimbrel had sky blue legs which I found rather unusual. On the way back home I thought I saw a Reddish Egret in a small pond near Abandoned Motel State Park. By the time I was able to turn around and take another look, it was gone. I have to work on my, birding while driving, skills.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


The MdO Campground had few campers and was delightful to walk through. Most of the action, if one could call it action, was in the back section which was closed to campers. In the cypress, pines, and willows, were numerous Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black Phoebe (photo), Several Red-shafted Flicker, two female Nuttall's Woodpecker, several Townsend's Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a first sighting of a Bay-breasted Warbler. Bewick's Wren and House Wren, Hermit Thrush, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. The Gnatcatcher was being chased by a female Anna's Hummingbird. On the way into the park I had an unusual sighting, my first ever in the park, of a wild turkey (female). It was just off Pecho Road about 500 feet before the road into Camp Keep.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


High tides cause shore birds to move east toward South Bay Blvd. In order to view these birds one has to park on the east side of S. Bay Blvd., and when the coast is clear, dash across to the bay side. There was a variety of shorebirds and ducks in the lunar landscape of the pickleweed. My favorite sighting was of the recently arrived American Avocet. Watching them feed is a delight. They thrust their bills underwater, swinging them from side to side along the bottom to stir up aquatic insects. Other birds of note, Short-billed Dowitcher and a plethora of Black-bellied Plover. Only a few ducks - Pintail, the three Teals (Blue, Green, Cinnamon), Shoveler, Am. Wigeon, and Bufflehead.

In the thick brush between S.B. Blvd. and the bay were, Quail, Say's and Black Phoebe, Bewick's Wren (see above photo), Yellow-rumped Warbler, and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.Next stop M.B. Marina, Caspian and Elegant Tern were diving for fish. Sitting on masts, Osprey and Red-shouldered Hawk. In the pines, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Chickadee. Along edge of the marina was a bobbing Spotted Sandpiper (photo). (I wonder if this is the same one I saw in Yosemite Valley in a marshy wetland this summer.)

Across the road in the Morro Bay Campground I could hear a Steller's Jay and numerous Nuthatches. This is definitely the year of the Red-breasted Nuthatch, as they are prolific.