Saturday, September 13, 2014

Sept 12 (Day 255) - California arrival!

Today I moved ~58 miles from Gold Beach, Oregon to Crescent City, California. This morning was incredibly beautiful. I headed out to the inlet of the Rogue Rover in Gold Beach to do a couple hours of sea watching before I hit the road. There were TONS of Elegant terns in and around the inlet. There must have been well over 1,000 of them, and maybe upwards of 1,500 or 2,000! They were everywhere. I also saw several flyby loons, but none that I was able to identify definitely as Pacific since they were so far out. I am willing to bet my life that I saw at least one Pacific loon today though. I also had 2 flyby jaegers, but these too were beyond where I feel comfortable making identifications. For the record, Pomerine would be a new for the year, but I have Parasitic already. More on jaegers later in the post......

Once I did hit the road, the riding was incredible. Sunshine, rugged coastline, and no wind combined to make the ride today completely enjoyable. I actually spent about 15 of my morning miles riding with another cyclist, Alec, who I met along the road. He just finished law school this past spring, and is now biking from Vancouver to San Diego before he commits fully to the real world. Having some company was a nice change today as the conversation really helped to pass the miles. We ate lunch together in Brookings before he headed off down 101. In the afternoon I really took my time, and I made a number of detours to better explore the area. 50-60 mile rides (when started in the morning!) are just perfect. You cover some ground but have time to explore as well.

Quick video of Southern Oregon coast today

State #28 - My home of the next 6 weeks!

The side of an antique store in Crescent city.
Alcids and gulls getting some love for once!

The clouds and thick fog rolled in right as I reached Crescent City. I swung by the harbor to explore and found a decent size grouping of shorebirds. There were at least a dozen of each of the following: Surfbird, Black turnstone, Short-billed dowitcher, Lesser yellowlegs, Sanderling, Western sandpiper, Semipalmated plover, and Black-bellied plover. Greater yellowlegs, Black oystercatcher, and Killdeer were also each represented by multiple birds. I wish the sun had been out since all of these birds were incredibly cooperative. I decided to take a few pics despite the TERRIBLE light. I got a few so-so images out of the effort. The most exciting moment of the evening came when 2 Parasitic jaegers materialized out of the fog and flew right over my head as I stood on the small beach! This is the best look I have had at this species from land. If the sun is out tomorrow morning I will make a brief stop back at this spot.

Short-billed dowitcher

Lesser Yellowlegs

Parasitic jaeger through fog

Same bird as above in same fog

Tomorrow I will head to Arcata. Sunday will be a birding day around Arcata/Eureka. It is also the day Queen Sonia will arrive!

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