Saturday, August 25, 2012
ADVENTURE ON THE CENTRAL COAST
The most exciting event of the week were Whales lunge feeding at Pismo. Photo by Mike Baird. I am also including a link to Mike's slide show on the Humpback Whales feeding at Pismo.
There are thousands of birds feeding at the same time as the whales. Pelicans are diving into the water as the whales lunge up. Unfortunately, many a Brown Pelican has gone down the gaping maw of a voracious Whale. I viewed the feeding phenomena from the Pismo Pier a few days a go.
Today, from Morro Rock, observed more of this fascinating feeding behavior. The whales and birds were feeding on bait balls, which are huge masses of bait fish packed into a globular mass. I do believe there were trillions of birds, Cormorant, Pelican, Sooty Shearwater, Gull, feeding along with three whales. The action was taking place on the Montana de Oro side of the breakwater, but was able to get an excellent view with binoculars.
Back to birding - Red-necked Phalarope has returned to the Turri Rd. ponds. There were about 40 or so spinning so fast it nearly made me dizzy. Churning up the water brings their microscopic food to the surface.
Tide was just right to see a variety of birds at the Audubon Overlook - Virginia Rail, 6 Greater Yellowleg, Dowitcher, and a very difficult bird for me to identify, Baird's Sandpiper; there were three, two immature and an adult. I spent at least an hour identifying them as they look so much like Western Sandpiper. Nearly forgot about the Spotted Sandpiper at the Morro Bay Marina. Every year one adorable Spotted Sandpiper takes up residence at the marina - was delighted to see it had returned.