Friday, October 3, 2014

Oct 2 (Day 275) - Very slow day of birding, old friends, CA condor plans, a few photos

Today was great weather and rough birding. It was close to 90F here in Monterey, CA. This heat came from the east with associated light winds. This is exactly the opposite of the ideal scenario yesterday. West winds would push pelagic birds into Monterey Bay where they could be easily viewed; East winds would do exactly the opposite.  With west winds yesterday and Tuesday, I observed thousands of Sooty and Black-vented shearwaters from Point Pinos. Today I saw fewer than 10 Sooties and fewer than 40 Black-vented from the same spot. I did do some productive napping in the warm sun at multiple points today. Despite the dearth of shearwaters, there were quite a few jaegers around today. While I did not keep and exact count, I would estimate that I saw between 30-35. There were a few potential Pomarines mixed in there, but all birds that could be definitively identified were called Parasitic save for one adult Pom with a beautiful still intact set of tail spoons. Many local birders cycled through Point Pinos today, so while the birding may have been a bit slow, I had lots of great company for a large portion of the day. 

Early in the day, Massachusetts-based birder Dan Maier rolled up to the Point. We have actually met in person once before birding in Boston. As a loyal blog reader, he knew that I was going to be in Monterey/Pacific Grove today. He swung by the point to say hello this morning!

Me and Dan

Later in the day Carmel birder Cooper Scollan rolled up. Cooper and I attended 3 of the Victor Emanuel Youth Camps together, so we go way back! We haven't seen each other in years, so we had lots to talk about this afternoon/evening. Hopefully, he'll join me at the point for another bout of birding in the next 2 days.

Me and Cooper

The forecast for tomorrow is unfortunately very similar to today. I am not sure how I am going to fill up what could potentially be a slow day of birding. Land birding was slow today, and I expect the same for tomorrow. I will certainly sit my afternoon sea watching vigil no matter how slow the birding gets. I never know when something good will fly by! I can smell a bit of photography tomorrow.....

As many of you are aware, California Condor is now essentially a countable species. I must make sure that I get this bird as I head down the Big Sur coast.  On Sunday, I will ride south alone Highway 1 to reach the Condor area. I will spend much time that afternoon looking for them. Afternoons are better than mornings since the huge birds require decent thermals for soaring. I have never seen a condor in the wild, so this will be a particularly exciting search!

Me with large, stuffed octopus that
(barely) avoided being purchased!

I did take a few bird pics today....


Heermann's gull 

Black oystercatcher w/ snack

Black turnstone

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