Saturday, February 26, 2011


Morro Bay - Cloister's Pond - Time about 4:00 - Weather cool and breezy. I'm standing at the overlook looking out into the pond hoping for a glimpse of a Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola). The only birds on the pond, that I can see, are 2 Pied-billed Grebes. Red-winged Blackbirds are singing. No Rail in sight, but to my right, from a tangle of reeds and willows, came the call of a male Rail. Yeah! Persistence does pay off (have yet to see the Eagle, though). Never did see the little guy, but his call came through loud and clear. To hear the call click on the Flickr link for a 22 second sound vid.
Virginia Rail | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Yesterday I thought I would see how many birds I could observe without binoculars. Walked about 2 miles, staying close to the bay. Saw or heard 23 species. Best birds - Caspian Tern and Kingfisher.

Saw a man looking up and stopped to talk to him. He had just seen a Bald Eagle. Dang, missed again.

This afternoon, although it was quite windy, walked to the Audubon Overlook. In front of the overlook were Cinnamon, Blue and Green-winged Teal, a pair of Pintail, and a Marsh Wren in the reeds. The large flocks were off in the distance. Can you find the Blue-winged Teal in the top photo? (click on photo for larger image)

I am experimenting with a new camera, point and shoot, of course. It only weighs a few ounces, and can be carried in a pocket. The zoom, though, is limited to 4X, but for $99, I cannot complain.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Took advantage of the semi clearing sky to take a quick walk in the Elfin Forest. The Calif. Lilac (Ceanothus cuneatus) was in full bloom (photo). Photo on left looks west across the bay.

Had only gone a few feet when I was assaulted by song - a trio of Wrentit, Bewick's Wren, and Spotted Towhee. Saw thousands of water fowl from the overlooks, Western Grebe, Pintail, Shoveler, Scaup, Teal, Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, (some of the males were in mating plumage).

To be honest I was hoping to get a glimpse of the Bald Eagle that has recently been seen. I will persist!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


This morning adventure was a walk into the open space at El Chorro Regional Park - located about 5 miles south of Morro Bay, across from Cuesta College. Drive to the end of the park, ease thru the gate, and you are on your way. The trail is an old farm road. Much of the way it follows Dairy Creek. The Coast Live Oak forests are a sight to behold. Along the creek are huge old, dramatically gnarled Sycamores. (I do love the Sycamores)

The birds were most cooperative. We could hear Wild Turkey and Western Blue Bird was numerous. About a mile or so up the trail we came to a pond. Cassin's Kingbird was perched on a tall dead mustard stalk. Around the pond we saw Black and Say's Phoebe, and Killdeer. On the pond was a female Bufflehead, Pied-billed Grebe, and a pair of Mallards. In the willows were Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Oak Titmouse. The thrill of the morning was a Merlin and a great view of a White-tailed Kit. Another glorious day in paradise.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Yesterday had a rewarding experience at Montana de Oro. I walked the road from the Ranch House to the Coon Creek Trail Head. Weather, nearly perfect, just a bit of a breeze, very few cars. Spotted Towhee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Wrentit, American Kestrel, and Norther Flicker were active. The only non singer was the Gnatcatcher. ( I must say, I have never seen one catch a Gnat.) My purpose this morning was to get up and personal with a Thrasher.

About a mile along the road I came to three Thrashers. I briefly played a Thrasher Song on my marvelous little iPod. All three reacted. The one in the photo was not to be outdone (photo). Below is a link to the flickr page where the Thrasher Song can be heard. It is interesting to compare the two songs, just scroll down the page to the first video.

Song of the California Thrasher #2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!