Monday, July 26, 2010

TURRI ROAD DRY POND

The Turri Road Mostly Dry Ponds (photo) - A flock of about 50 Semipalmated Plover were resting in clumps of pickle weed. Every few minutes a small flock of Plovers would fly in and settle into the weed. When I first arrived I did not see them, as none were moving. It was after a flock came in that I began to see them in the vegetation (I wondered what else was out there that I was not seeing). One Western Sandpiper was feeding, and in the small pond to the East were a Lesser and Greater Yellowleg (really enjoy seeing them together). The Lesser was feeding in the water in a manner similiar to a Phalarope, pursuing the insects by spinning around. That was a fun sighting!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SUNDAY BIRDING


We drove up Turri Road. In the ponds were 10 Greater Yellowleg and 2 Killdeer. About a mile further, on the creek side, was a flock of American Goldfinch, and in a field of peas a pair of Western Bluebirds.

Our next stop was the Morro Bay Marina. We meandered through the brush, enjoying the antics of a large flock of Bushtits (see photo). Reaching the bay we sat on a rock and feasted our eyes upon Godwit, Willet, Long-billed Curlew and a huge flock of Sandpipers flying over the bay. White Pelican and Great Egret were on a sandbar. It is wonderful to see migratory birds returning to the Central Coast.


Our final destination was the Audubon Overlook at the North end of 4th in Los Osos. Our first sighting was of a small, mixed flock of Dowitcher and Willet. Before we could figure out whether the Dowitchers were Long-billed or Short-billed, they disappeared from view. To be honest, they disappeared from view because we had become distracted by a Virginia Rail who was feeding in the mud. Virginia Rails are few and far between around Morro Bay, so this sighting was an enormous treat.


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Friday, July 16, 2010

CAYUCOS BEACH - ESTERO BLUFFS


Cayucos Beach State Park - Flock of about 30 Heermann's Gull (see photo) resting near the mouth of Old Creek, an excellent area for finding returning migratory shore birds and Terns. Probing in the wet sand were 3 Long-billed Curlew, 4 Whimbrel, and two Killdeer were calling (I do enjoy birds that announce themselves.)

Estero Bluffs State Park - Hoping to see, or at least hear, a Grasshopper Sparrow, but all was quiet. Two Savannah Sparrow showed themselves, 4 Black Oystercatcher on the rocks. Long lines of Brant Cormorant heading north.
(Caution - there are ticks.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

MORNING BIRDING

(photo taken from Audubon Overlook)
Shore birds are returning to the Central Coast. From the Audubon Overlook at the North end of 4th in Los Osos, saw one Long-billed Curlew, 2 Willet, and 2 Short-billed Dowitcher. In the reeds were many male Red-winged Blackbirds and a Marsh Wren. Heard a Virginia Rail. Would like to have seen the little darling.

Next location, Turri Road, off South Bay Blvd. The ponds are filled by the tides. Saw one Killdeer, 4 Wilson's Phalarope, 2 Greater Yellowleg. Their yellow legs really show when they fly. I stopped a few times along Turri Road. Heard a Kingfisher, and Savannah Sparrow, and a Pacific-slope Flycatcher. About a mile along the road saw a pair of Black-headed Grosbeak. My favorite sighting was a family of 5 Cassin's Kingbirds. The parents were very busy feeding their youngins.
(photo of Turri Road Ponds by South Bay Blvd.)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SOUNDS OF ISLAY CREEK



Islay Creek, Montana de Oro State Park - Yesterday morning, around 10:00 am, the creek was alive with sound. The little Nano did not capture the sound of the Flicker, but it did capture the intense singing of a Swainson's Thrush that was perched in a willow across the creek. One can also hear the single note of a male Calif. Quail. Not so distinct is the song of a Wilson's Warbler. (Calif. Quail photo by Mike Baird)

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

BIRDING THE NORTH CENTRAL COAST



Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park was nearly deserted. Perhaps it had to do with the $10. parking fee. The only trail that was open was the one to the falls overlook. Photo shows 80 ft. McWay Falls flowing down granite cliffs at Partington Cove (see video at end of post). Pigeon Guillemots were nesting behind the falls. Two Condors soared overhead. Wilson's Warbler, Wrentit, and Olive-sided Flycatcher were singing in the dense brush along the path to the falls. A few miles north, and about 500 yds. past the Coast Art Gallery is a popular area for viewing Condors. Unfortunately, the dense fog made Condor observation impossible.

Point Lobos State Park. Fortunately the fog had lifted. Pelagic Cormorants were nesting on rocky promontories. It is amazing the eggs do not fall into the sea. Pigeon Guillemots were nesting in the cliffs. About a mile or so out were numerous feeding Humpback Whales. I have never seen such a display of breaching, spouts, tails and backs. One of the perks of bird watching along California's Central Coast is the unexpected nature sightings.
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