Friday, August 30, 2013


Yesterday, about 11:30, made a quick jaunt up Turri Road (photo).  I was hoping to see the thousands of tiny sandpipers had been seen resting in the ponds.  All the ponds were empty of bird life.  My only sighting was of a cheeky Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  Continued up the road, about a mile, saw several Western Bluebirds and a Loggerhead Shrike; as I was turning around, caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a mostly white hawk; stopped in the road, fortunately there were no other cars in sight.  Was able to get a good view of this unusual beauty soaring over the fields.

The hawk was mostly white, with black wing tips and a slightly reddish tail.  This condition is called Leucism, which is caused by defects in pigment cells - a different condition from albinism. 

This rare Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk was seen in the same area in early July, and I had forgotten all about it.  Needless to say this unanticipated rare sighting was an enormous treat. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013


First stop - Turri Road Ponds - In the farthest pond from South Bay Blvd. several hundred Least and Western Sandpiper (photo) and one Spotted Sandpiper.  It is hard to imagine, that these precious little sandpipers have recently flown in from their breeding grounds in Alaska.

Back to Baywood - I was focused on the ponds this morning and neglected to check out the action from the estuary access path at the north end of 4th St.  Wonderful sighting of 4 Black-bellied Plover in their breeding finery.  Another week or so, their breeding colors will change to a soft sand color.  Also present were Long-billed Curlew, Godwit, Willet, 2 Greater Yellowlegs, and numerous Semipalmated Plover who breed on mossy tundra from Alaska to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. (the Semipalmated Plover photo was taken on Morro Strand Beach)
Checked out the mouth of Morro Creek.  Nothing notable. Could hear the grating "karreck" of the Elegant Tern - a sound that is music to my ears.

On to the Marina Boardwalk - slim pickings - Black Phoebe and one White-crowned Sparrow, who looked like he wished it was spring again.
 Along the edge of the pickle weed, nearly lost in the fog, was a large flock of sandpipers, Dowitcher, Curlew,  and Godwit.  Further along, a huge flock of Brown Pelican and Egret.

On the way home stopped by Sweet Springs - 20 species - scads and scads of Chickadee, and a noisy Kingfisher - a pleasant end to a wonderful morning of birding.