Once again an extreme high tide brought the dabblers into the pickleweed. Most of the birds in the scene above are Northern Pintail and American Wigeon. Male Pintail have a long slim tail and a white breast. Male Wigeon have a black rear and a broad whitish stripe on its head. I was looking for an Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope). What distinguishes it from the American is a red head. Among the thousands of migratory ducks that come to Morro Bay there may 2 or 3 Eurasian Wigeon. After standing in the wet pickleweed for about a half hour I was rewarded with an excellent view of a male Eurasian Wigeon.
My next birding adventure was directly across the road in the brushy area at the Quarry Trail head. And I thought due to being Christmas Morning there would be no traffic. Wrong. Where was everyone going? There were supposed to be home opening Christmas presents and drinking eggnog.
Finally managed to get across the road unscathed. I plunged into the brush (virgin territory). A good representation of chaparral birds including Hermit Thrush, Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, numerous Bewick's Wren, and over head, the treat of the day, an immature Bald Eagle.
On the way home I checked out downtown Baywood. Both coffee shops were closed; both Mexican Restaurants were closed. The Baywood Market was closed and unbelievably, the Merrymaker Bar was closed. There was a disappointed customer trying the door as I passed by. Stopped at the pier. My last sighting of the morning was female Peregrine Falcon perched in an old Cypress by the Baywood Motel.
Monday, December 12, 2011
The morning was fresh. Our glorious sun was playing hid and seek with huge cumulus clouds; rain was on its way. The tide was high. Brant Geese were feeding along the edges of the pickleweed. Behind the Brant were many hundreds of Ruddy Ducks. Feeding nearby were Scaup, Pintail, Widgeon, and Blue and Green-winged Teal. Further out in the bay were huge flocks of mixed ducks and Cormorants. Over head flew the noisy Caspian Tern.
Sunday marked the end of the 30 day Brant hunting season, Yeah! It is rather disconcerting to hear the blast of shotguns when one is quietly checking out the ducks. The season for ducks runs through January 27th. Morro Bay is designated a "Bird Sanctuary." Seems rather odd that hunting is allowed in a sanctuary.
Brant (above photo) are vocally expressive - always murmuring to each other. Perhaps they are discussing their yearly migratory flight from the northern coast of Alaska to Morro Bay. Their gentle sound touches my heart and makes me feel that all is right. (for the moment)
As I was exiting Sweet Spring, heard the high pitched "tsee" of a Brown Creeper. With little effort saw two adorable little Creepers working their way up a Cypress. The sun was now hiding behind the clouds. Definitely time for a cup of tea.