Monday, November 4, 2013
THE BRANT GOOSE
Possible explanations include climate change and a reduction of the amount of eelgrass, the birds main food source. And due to shifting storm patterns, in some years, a third of the population may winter in Alaska.
Yesterday about 130 Brant were seen in Baywood Cove. This morning I was determined to find the Brant. It might be my only chance to see them this year. My first stop was Sweet Springs, where one can get a good view of the Baywood Cove - no Brant. I did observe a small flock in flight that was moving south toward Shark Inlet.
Shark Inlet, the most southern section of the bay, was beautiful. About a mile out was a large flock of Scaup, Ruddy Duck, and Bufflehead - no Brant.
I headed into Morro Bay; last year the Brant fed on eelgrass in the channel - no luck. Last stop was the Marina where one can get a broad view of the bay and the estuary - no Brant. On the little hill directly above the marina is the Museum of Natural History. They have a scope and also a view of Grassy Island where Brant are known to haul out. The scope made all the difference; on a narrow sandbar, the one in the foreground of the photo, were 50 or so Brant. Success!!
(note: a portion of Morro Bay is designated as a state and national bird sanctuary. This means it is illegal to kill or harm a bird in that portion of the bay.) I feel it is time to extend the sanctuary designation to the entire bay.