Mark and I found the usual thousands of Sooties, and, by methodically watching the streams of these birds, we were able to pick out a few Pink-footed and at least a dozen Black-vented. These represented year birds, #558 and #559, respectively. The number of shearwaters was just amazing, and when one throws in gulls, terns, cormorants, and pelicans, it was a really incredible spectacle. We spent about 2 hours enjoying these birds from Pescadero State Beach before Mark had to head off to work. At this precise moment, my phone rang with an update from Half Moon Bay, 16 miles to the north. The Red-throated pipit was present this morning! I was stoked when it started raining last night since I figured this would help pin the pipit down overnight. This is exactly what apparently happened. The chase was on!
Mark at Pescadero this morning
The route up Highway 1. 51 miles total for out and back.
Chris and Malia confessed that they have been die-hard blog readers this year. Chris in particular seemed incredibly excited to share his lifer Red-throated pipit with me. His enthusiasm is EXACTLY why I put so much effort into the birding and the blogging. Although I am the one physically on the bike, I want the whole birding community to be along for the ride. This component, and the green angle, is really how I am trying to separate my big year from previous efforts. I certainly set out to see as many birds as possible, but I take just as much pride in the number of blog hits as I do the number of birds ticked. In a world of ebola, ISIS, income inequality, terrorism, government ineptitude, climate change, and the last-place Red Sox, I hope this blog provides a minimal and welcome distraction from all things frustrating in the world today. I hope that morning coffee tastes better with this blog than with any other real world news source.
Pa-pa-pipit real good (from Salt N Peppa)!
Red-throated pipt for #560!
Me, Malia, Chris
Sonia met me for lunch in the afternoon. We spent a relaxing few hours around Pillar Point Harbor. The sun was shining very brightly and provided some decent, albeit a bit steep for my taste, afternoon light for photography. I found a nice collection of shorebirds in the harbor that included Black oystercatcher, Surfbird, Black turnstone, Wandering tattler, Sanderling, Marbled godwit, Spotted sandpiper, Black-bellied plover, Willet, and Whimbrel. Sonia is becoming more an more proficient at identifying each of these. She is well on her way to becoming a full-fledged birder despite my best efforts to label her as such. She's even starting to to throw around terms like "Alcid". I am so proud!
Here are a few of the shots I collected this afternoon. I wood have liked the sun to be a bit lower to get rid of some of the shadows on the undersides of the birds. I couldn't get them doing anything terribly cool, but its a nice variety of stuff nonetheless.
Western gull photobomb!
The winds are really going to be banging from the west the next 2 days, so I am going to spend a lot of time of time seawatching from Pigeon Point. I will after that move south through Santa Cruz and then down to Monterey for more seawatching.