Saturday, October 22, 2016

Baywood Morning Birds

Yesterday a Red-necked Grebe, and seven Brant Goose, were seen in Baywood Cove in the area of the little pier and the Back Bay Cafe.  This morning at 8:00 I headed out the door with binoculars, camera and high hopes that I could find the water fowl that had been sighted yesterday. 
Luck prevailed.  The first birds I saw were 27 Blue-winged Teal (above photo and center of top photo). Along the edge of the sandbar (the tide was going out) were two Black-bellied Plover, a very Long-billed Curlew, several Marbled Godwit, and a Ring-billed Gull.
Tiny fish were jumping and 2 Eared Grebe were diving every few moments.  Seven Brant were moving in a straight line across the bay. One was in the lead. It was a beautiful sight.  Out a little further were, not one, but two Red-necked Grebe (above photo by Caleb Putnam) and two Pied- billed Grebe, plus 17 Western Grebe, and a Kingfisher perched on the top of a mast (below photo). Saturday, October 22, 2016 will go down in history as the "Day of the Grebe."
All these great sightings in just a few minutes.  With the beautiful morning came the people, dog walkers, children playing on the sand bar, dogs in the water, and a line of people waiting for coffee.  The old adage, "The early birds gets the worm," was certainly true this morning.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Birding Near - Birding Afar

        Sweet Springs Pickleweed at Low Tide 
Birding Near - Sweet Springs, a beautiful misty morning with an incoming tide.  The only sounds were those of the birds.  High in a tree came the penetrating sound of a Northern Flicker - music to my ears.
In the flooded Pickleweed 10 newly arrived Blue-winged Teal fed; with endless patience a Great Egret sought its prey.  (below photo)
 Along the edge of the bay Great Blue Heron and Snowy Egret.  Four Greater Yellowleg arrived, calling as they come in for a landing; Black Phoebe flycatched from a partly submerged snag.

In the reeds, Common Yellowthroat and Song Sparrow.  From a Eucalyptus on the edge of the water came the grating call of a Belted Kingfisher.   My euphoria was interrupted as an Osprey silently passed by - always a pleasure seeing this powerful raptor.  (photo by Jerry Kirkhart)  
Birding Afar - Mono Lake - Located on the Eastern side of California's Sierra Nevada mountain range, depending on road conditions 5 to 6 hours from the Central Coast. 
Mono Lake is a vital stop on the Pacific Flyway.  There is a possibility that some of the migratory birds that arrive in Morro Bay have stopped at Mono Lake to rest, molt and feast on the abundant alkali flies and brine shrimp that inhabit the lake. 
On the lake were thousands of Eared Grebes in winter plumage (above) and thousands of Ruddy Ducks.  Eared Grebe arrive at Mono Lake in greater numbers than any other species. Surveys have shown that there are nearly a million Grebe on the lake in the fall; they may double or triple their weight as they feast on the brine shrimp.  Some get too fat to fly and must lose weight before departing for their winter destination.  It is difficult to imagine an overweight Eared Grebe.