Saturday, September 24, 2011


Morro Strand Lagoon - For at least several days a White-faced Ibis (photo) has been seen foraging in the Morro Strand Lagoon. The lagoon (below photo) is easily accessible. I take the little trail at the south end of the campground that follows the creek to the beach.
No sun and a wet drizzle did not dampen my birding spirit. I was happy not to be looking for Warblers in a willow thicket. The White-faced Ibis was engrossed in feeding and paid little attention to the people on the beach. See video White-faced Ibis - Plegadis chihi | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Besides the delightful Ibis, there was a mixed flock of Elegant and Royal Tern with a few Caspian Tern, several Black-bellied Plover, numerous Semipalmated Plover, a few Whimbrel and scads of Long-billed Curlew - Without a doubt, this morning's birding was perfect!!

Friday, September 23, 2011


I wish I was more adept at identifying Warblers and other little migrant passerines. Trying to identify one, as it rapidly moves thru dense vegetation, is a real challenge to my birding skills. At Islay Creek (photo), after spending 2 hours and nearly bleary eyed, I managed to see a female Lazuli Bunting, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, and a Clay-colored Sparrow.

In the campground I spotted a pair of Townsend Warbler. I am very fond of the Townsend as they are easy to see and linger longer in their pursuit of insects. In the same tree was a Hermit Warbler. Bewick's Wren seemed quite upset at this Warbler invasion and gave them a thorough scolding. Do enjoy the feisty little Wren.

Other birds of note were a pair of Western Bluebirds hanging around the restrooms and a late batch of baby quail about the size of walnuts - so precious!!

Popped by Sweet Springs. Great sighting of one of my most favorite favorites, the Brown Creeper. The little darling was working his/her way up a gnarled old cypress trunk, stopping every few moments to gobble down a tasty insect.

Stopped by the Audubon Overlook at the end of 4th. The tide was perfect for viewing shorebirds. Birds of note: 20 or so Semipalmated Plover, two Dowitcher, Virginia Rail in the reeds, and two Black-bellied Plover (wearing their winter plumage).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The morning was warm, barely a breeze, the birds were most cooperative. (Photo - reflection of Morro Rock in Morro Creek Lagoon.) In, on, and around the Morro Creek Lagoon, much large than the last visit due to high tides, had great sightings of one Pectoral Sandpiper, four Baird's Sandpiper, scads of the Red-necked Phalarope, three Avocet, one Spotted Sandpiper, Royal and Elegant Tern, and Willet, Whimbrel, Long-billed Curlew.

The Terns, mostly Elegant with a few of the larger Royal, were hanging with a flock of Heermann's Gull. (They do compliment each other. I wonder if they know that.) I am feeling more confident with Tern identification and believe, am not 100% positive though, I know the difference between the Elegant and Royal. The Royal is a couple of inches larger than the Elegant and the Elegant has a pointier, slightly drooping bill. I believe the photo shows the difference between the two species. The Royal is the larger bird in the foreground.

Next birding adventure will be looking for early fall migrants in the willows at Islay Creek.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Morro Creek Lagoon, Morro Bay. Weather, cool, and cloudy, just perfect for birding. The photo was taken from a parking area above and to the south of the Lagoon. If this was a panoramic photo, Morro Rock would be on the left. On its way to the sea the Creek forms a couple of wide, yet shallow pools that provide bountiful habitat for a variety of shorebirds.

Fortune shined, and the birds were most cooperative. In and around the Lagoon were about 200 Red-necked Phalarope (spinning and probing), two Wilson's Phalarope, one Dowitcher (short or long-billed - hard to determine), several Killdeer, Semipalmated Plover, Western Sandpiper, and the shorebird I was hoping to see, the Pectoral Sandpiper.

It's not like I have not seen the Pectoral before; I just wanted to get a really good look at the little darling. Well, actually, it is not that little. It is a couple of inches larger that a Western Sandpiper, and it is usually (anyway when I have seen it) apart from the other sandpipers. I was focusing on a little cluster of Western when the Pectoral strode out of the reeds. Yes!!

As I neared my car, I noticed, perched atop a tall shrub on the bank of the creek, a Cooper's Hawk. Directly below him were four young house finch that were waiting for their parents to feed them. I have a feeling the hawk was thinking about breakfast.