Monday, October 20, 2014

Oct 19 (Day 292) - More boobies, missed opportunity, last reader questions

Yesterday I birded La Jolla in the morning and then moved the ~25 miles south towards Imperial Beach. I did this despite my inability to find Cassin's auklet. I knew I would have to return to La Jolla  for the auklet at some point, but I did not want to do this today for 2 reasons. First, was the huge La Jolla bike race that would make birding the area way more hectic than it needed to be. Second, master birder Paul Lehman had agreed to meet me at Imperial Beach to aid in the big booby hunt. I spent last night at the very nice Best Western Plus Otay Valley. This put me just 7 miles from Seacoast drive - aka booby central. I observed several Brown Boobies here yesterday afternoon. Paul suggested a very early arrival to Seacoast Drive this morning, so the hotel provided a nice base from which to operate. I met Paul at 6:45am. Over the course of the next ~2 hours, we spotted ~20 Brown boobies of various ages and plumages as they cruised across the very calm water. Today's looks were much better than yesterday's backlit views. Despite our best efforts, we did not see any Blue-footed boobies in with the Browns. Paul and I spent much time yakking about birds and birding during the seawatch. It was an altogether enjoyable outing. We also had a nice guy, Sean from Wisconsin, join us of part of the morning. Assorted shorebirds, jaegers, and an apparently resident Reddish egret helped keep the birding interesting. I actually stuck it out at this spot until 11:30am. I only saw 1 boobies in the last hour. By that time it was hot and the light was getting tough. I decided to close up shop and head back up to La Jolla where I would spend tonight.

On my way back to La Jolla I was feeling really tired. I debated whether to not to hit a particular spot at Mission Bay, but decided against in since I was so tired. I also figured it was a weekend and would be flooded with people anyway. I came back to the house where I am staying, had a bowl of ice cream, flipped on the Chargers-Chiefs game, and immediately passed out cold for 2 hours. I was really groggy when I woke up, but I managed to shake this off well-enough to have a fantastic, entertaining dinner with my 2 hosts, Dave and Monica, and a mutual friend, Kurt. We were all good friends during our graduate school days at NYU.

Me, Monica, Kurt (back), Dave (right)

Looking at the bird posts this evening, I saw that a Red Phalarope was reported at the EXACT spot and at the EXACT time that I chose to bypass it this afternoon. DAMN! I guess you can't win them all. Tomorrow I am going to return to La Jolla Cove to seawatch for Cassin's auklet tomorrow morning before heading over to the phalarope spot in the afternoon. Hopefully it will stick around! 

33 miles today


  1. Good luck on the Red Phalarope! We had one visit our little inland lake here in Licking County, Ohio for about a week. He brought in birders from Pennsylvania, Indiana and Michigan as well as all over Ohio. He finally left last Thursday during the night, as a front passed through. Unless your weather is changing and as long as he's finding food, your REPH should hang around a few days.

  2. The difference is that Mission Bay is a tidal system, so the birds move around a lot more than they do at mudflats in Ohio = higher chance it might not be back