This last Friday I decided to use Lyle again and scheduled an early pickup in Mendocino. This allowed me to do my SOS Survey at Virgin Creek and walk a long section of Ten Mile Beach. It was a pretty day although it’s getting cold in the morning. The recent winds had died down. Highlights of the day were two small flocks of Aleutian Cackling Geese flying south. This subspecies of the Cackling Goose used to listed as rare in Mendocino but this nearly extinct bird has made a comeback and is now listed as uncommon. Wikipedia states, “The primary threat to the Aleutian Cackling Goose has been the Arctic Fox, introduced to the Aleutian Islands by Russian fur traders between 1836 and 1930. The Cackling Canada Goose was considered extinct until a colony was discovered on Buldir Island in 1962. Since then, the Aleutian Cackling Goose has made a comeback and was removed from the endangered species list in 2001.”
The white neck ring is one of the ways to identify Aleutians. Another highlight of the day was the return of a pair of Harlequin Ducks at Virgin Creek.
This shorebird year could be called the year of the Pectoral Sandpiper. I found three at Virgin Creek and two on Ten Mile Beach. There was a max of six at Virgin Creek a couple of Wednesdays ago. They have been numerous inland at the Ukiah Waste Treatment Plant. This bird migrates in the Spring up the center of the country. We have, to my knowledge, never had a Spring record here on the coast. This Fall has been a banner year for them.
Also looked for Horned Larks on Ten Mile where I’ve found them before but still no luck.