Because of a mandatory staff meeting on Friday where I work, I moved my SOS Virgin Creek Survey up to Thursday. I wasn’t expecting many shorebirds on the beach. Most of them, except for local breeders, are still up North. I did find a single Sanderling that was showing some signs of breeding plumage but was it going into or coming out of it?
I’ve also been keeping an eye on the Killdeer family that apparently nested on the north part of the beach. There were 3 chicks a couple of weeks ago. Two have survived and are still being protected by the parents. They are getting hard to tell from the parents but you can still see a bigger leg to body ratio. Further up the coast were two Whimbrels in the Marine Mammal protected area north of Lake Cleone. There seems to be a small population that over Summers here. Even further North at Ward Ave. there was a late(?) Caspian Tern flying North. A local birder just found 6 of them at Ten Mile River.
The most interesting part of the day was seeing Judy with her new service dog. Judy is blind. I first noticed her when I used the local MTA (CC Rider) to help me visit my mother in Southern California in December of 2010. Judy uses the local public transportation system to get around Mendocino and to visit her relatives in the Bay Area. Over the years I have become known to her as the “birder”. Judy’s first service dog was getting old when I first met it. In our talks I learned that she was getting a new service dog and this Thursday was my first meeting with “Jammie” (sp?) like in pajamas. Jammie was young, friendly, and rambunctious but that hadn’t stopped her from recently going to Florida by plane with Judy. They stayed on Sanibel Island and visited the birding hotspot JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Judy’s old service dog is spending it time now with Judy’s daughter in the East Bay. Judy has given me the location of a Great Horned Owl that is in my territory for the Fort Bragg Christmas Bird Count. Maybe I will get it this winter. I tell you this story because if Judy can get around using public transportation why can’t you?