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.

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