Saturday, July 23, 2011


So happy to be out and about. Weather overcast, no wind - a perfect Central Coast morning. San Simeon Creek flows by the campground, under Hwy One and ends in a small rocky lagoon on San Simeon State Beach. A berm of sand prevents the creek from flowing into the sea. I was looking for a Semipalmated Sandpiper - nearly identical to a Western Sandpiper. It had been seen among a small flock of Western Sandpipers. I am not very adept at finding a needle in a haystack. The area the peeps were feeding in had moist ground, small round rocks, and bits and pieces of kelp (see photo). Yikes!!
First I saw the obvious - Handsome Semipalmated Plovers in breeding plumage, Killdeer, 2 Short-billed Dowitcher, Caspian and Elegant Tern, 4 Snowy Plovers (always a treat), Grackle, Western Sandpiper. Finally spotted the Seimpalmated Sandpiper. Its bill is a little shorter, straighter and thicker than the Western. Anyway I think I saw it. Below is a link to a photo by Roger Zachery that shows the difference between the two sandpipers. The Semipalmated is upper right.
Western Sandpipers and Semipalmated Sandpiper | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Stopped at a few spots to check for Turnstones and Tattlers. Did see a couple of Oystercatchers and numerous Long Billed Curlew and one Whimbrel and many Heermann's Gull on Cayucos State Beach. Unaccustomed to the fresh air, I was overcome with a yearning for a Starbucks. Thus my first real day of birding, in nearly a month, came to a most pleasant end.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Klamath California

My friend Linda got a 6 month job as one of the hosts in an RV Camp located on the Klamath River in Klamath Calif. To say she is in paradise is a gross understatement. We spent a day together. The Bald Eagles were in a very tall tree, across and up river a bit from her camp. Look carefully and you can see the chick in the nest. In a willowy area along the Klamath, near one of the many Yurok fishcamps, we saw Am. Goldfinch, Kingfisher, Yellow Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow. Osprey are common. Saw several nests.

Upriver a bit farther, driving on the beach gravel along the river, Linda is fearles; she showed me where a Spotted Sandpiper was nesting in tall grass. As soon as we neared the area of the nest, the Sandpiper became agitated. Spotted Sandpipers are one of my favorite birds. Directly after laying her eggs the female takes off to find another mate. The male does the brooding and feeding of the nestlings. No wonder he was testy. (the Sandpiper was nesting to the right of the gravel)

The most common birds of the area were Swainson's Thrush, Varied Thrush, American Robin, Raven, Purple Finch, Song Sparrow.

In the afternoon we took a 2 1/2 jet boat ride up the Klamath. Saw numerous Osprey, several Bald Eagles, and Red-breasted Merganser. This ride is not for the faint of heart.

Spent some hours in the woods of Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Heard bird sounds, but not a feather did appear. Dense flora and verrrrrry tallllllll trees tests my birding skills, so I concentrated on the flora, banana slugs, snails, and larger animals such as Elk. Perhaps the starling is related to the Ox-pecker? I wonder if Google has the answer.