Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oct 1 (Day 274) - More Monterey, plans for the next few days.

Today was 78F and not a cloud in the sky! It was a perfect day to do some low key and relaxing birding around Monterey. I started out birding some of the neighborhoods and parks around Pacific Grove. Most folks around here are focused on stray eastern warblers at moment, but I was in search of two fairly common local residents, Purple Finch and California Thrasher. Although I was unable to  find either, it was a nice morning out. I was also able to meet a few more of the local birders including Don Roberson. He literally wrote the book on Monterey birding. He maintains a very informative website that you can explore here.

In the afternoon I returned to Point Pinos for another bout of seawatching. There birds were very similar to yesterday - lots of shearwater and some jaegers. There was some light to moderate northwest wind which made for a pleasant afternoon.  Seawatching around here is generally best when the winds blow strongly from the north and west. This blows birds into into Monterey Bay, and they must round Point Pinos to return to the open ocean. You can see this geography below. 

What you should also notice from this map is the proximity of Monterey to the deep water canyons just offshore. Many pelagic birds like this deep water, and, as a result, the waters just offshore from Monterey provide some of the best pelagic birding anywhere. Although I am shore-bound, I am able to nibble at the edges of this offshore avian bounty by seawatching. I am hoping that my diligence will be rewarded with the addition of at least one more species.

This weekend has turned into a bit of a logistical nightmare.  I was planning to bird Monterey tomorrow and then ride ride down the Big Sur coast on Friday and Saturday. The problem is that what little lodging exists is incredibly expensive (like $250/night) and completely booked. This is where not being able to camp really hurts me. I have secured a place in a cabin (and a rental sleeping bag) just south of Andrew Molera State Park for Sunday night. What this means is that I am effectively trapped in Monterey for the next 3 days (Th, F, Sa). While 5 days is more time than I wanted to spent here, it's the way it must be. I will get to do 3 more days of seawatching, so maybe I can pick up an additional species in this time. The weather looks good these 3 days, and with at least some west winds forecasted for the afternoons, there should be some birds around. This time will also double as time to rest my legs before the challenging Big Sur stretch. This will still give me plenty of time to find the Southern California specialty birds I need before I make the turn east towards AZ, NM, and TX at the end of the month. This should be a fairly low-miles month, so I may as well enjoy it! 

A lazy 14 miles around Monterey today


  1. Dorian,
    Congrats on the two pelagic pick-ups. I don't think you should rush the rest of California this month. Your single best place for padding the year-list tally is right there at/near Monterey. If sea-watching gets slow, California Thrasher, Purple Finch, Lawrence's Goldfinch, and Yellow-billed Magpie are all close enough for a day-trip diversion. California is key - enjoy the favorable position you find yourself in, it's only Oct. 1!
    Bob Nealy

  2. Still reading with great anticipation. The term "trapped in Monterey" makes me chuckle. Being trapped in Monterey is like going to prison in the Ritz. Have fun and remember that money is 100% temporary.
    Thanks for all the postings...the Feral Cyclist

  3. Hey, I just read on the ABA Facebook page that California Condor is now countable! You'd better check that out, for sure. It's definitely on this checklist.