The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival is in full swing. Yesterday Tom Edell and Curtis Marantz identified an Arctic Loon (Gavia arctica) feeding in the pond at the mouth of San Simeon Creek. The Arctic Loon (photo by Maggie Smith) is an extremely rare visitor to the California Coast. The internet nearly had a meltdown with all the Loon chat.
About 11:00 this morning I dropped by festival headquarters. I enjoy looking at the scopes and dreaming about owing one some day (probably in my next life). Starting talking with a fellow birder and in a matter of moments we were on the road to San Simeon.
I just love birds that are easy to see, and this marvelous Loon was in full view in the middle of the pond. It sat low in the water and dove with ease. Fortunately it was oblivious to the photographers and birdwatchers that lined the pond.
Other attractions at San Simeon - A huge flock of Ringed-billed Gulls, 30 Black-belllied Plovers and, on the gravely beach an active flock of 30-40 Snowy Plovers; they were bathing and chasing flies. I had not seen one in over a year and seeing the little darlings was a real treat.
Yes, 2012 is going to be a great year for birding.