So how did this last weeks birding go? The weather was nice but unusually muggy. Thursday I once again birded Ten Mile Beach. The fog line was right on the beach so at time visibility was limited. Shorebirds were at a minimum with no large flocks, not even Sanderlings. There did seem to be a flow of Baird’s Sandpipers. I found at least 3 of them.
I say at least three because I saw a pair several times while walking the beach. They would fly north and then sometime later while I was walking south I would find a pair of them again. I assumed that they were the same birds. I later found a single bird. There were a high of 25 returning Snowy Plovers this day.
Friday I was picked up by Chuck Vaughn again to do my SOS Survey. Chuck came over from Ukiah to work on his year list. While doing the survey he said that there were many more shorebirds than two weeks ago. Chuck left the coast a happy birder, he added 5 birds to his list. The five were Snowy Egret, Lesser Yellowlegs, Willet, Marbled Godwit, and a calling Short-billed Dowitcher. I wasn’t as happy as Chuck because I’d already added those birds earlier in the year but it was a good day of birding. The Lesser Yellowlegs is pictured below.
Saturday during my Little River Airport birding I had Western Tanagers. WETA’s are not common at the airport and I don’t see them every year. This was the earliest I’ve seen them beating the old record by 12 days.
After finding out that I had no drives scheduled at the Lodge today I decided to bike Big River this morning. I’ve written about Big River before. You should checkout the link to find out it’s history. Every time I bike Big River I ask myself why don’t I do it more often?
One of the first birds I found there was a Willow Flycatcher at the locked gate. It was a year bird for me. I had been planning on going over to the Ukiah Waste Treatment Plant next week to get one. They are more common there. I checked on the Double-crested Cormorant Rookery across the river from the quarry. While it is late in the season there was still at least one active nest. Without a scope I couldn’t see even how many nests are still there. This rookery was found, I think, three years ago and is the only known DCCO nesting area in Mendocino County. The most unusual bird I found was a calling Grasshopper Sparrow in the quarry. This is late for them and they are rare on the coast. GRSP’s are not on the Big River Checklist. I’m sure that the Ebird filters will question this sighting. Will see what Chuck Vaughn, our Ebird Reviewer, thinks about it. GRSP’s are not a year bird for me.
New totals are 227 bird species seen with over 1800 truck miles saved.