Birding for the Week of November 15-16

I knew that Friday was going to be a windy day. I did my SOS Shorebird Survey on Virgin Creek Beach anyway. While conditions were bad (I recorded 21 mph max winds) it was a good day for finding shorebirds. I found a good mix of Surfbirds, Black Turnstones, and Sanderlings. Throw in a single Western Sandpiper (haven’t seen one for awhile), a few Dunlin and a Snowy Plover that had an unusual look. The Snowy Plover has an incomplete collar which can be either black or tan depending on the sex of the bird and time of season. This plover had a dark collar on it’s right side and a pale collar on it’s left side.

I have never seen this molt pattern before and don’t know if it’s common or rare. This is the first time that I’ve seen a Snowy Plover on Virgin Creek in some time. Don’t know if it’s part of the Ten Mile flock blown south or an individual wanderer. 

I wandered up to Lake Cleone after the survey but it was too windy for birding and was having a hard time keeping my hat on so I biked back to Fort Bragg for a warming Mocha and a bus ride back to Mendocino. 

Saturday at the Little River Airport I found a “Red” Fox Sparrow, a very pretty sparrow. I didn’t have a chance to get a picture of it but found one on Wikipedia that looked the same. Since it’s a subspecies I can’t count it towards my totals for the year.

Photo by: Mdf

The “Red” subspecies of the Fox Sparrow is rare on the California Coast.

I seen 246 bird species and saved over 2782 carbon producing truck miles so far this year.


NOTE:On Friday while I was doing my SOS Survey a Black-capped Chickadee was found by birders along the boardwalk at Lake Cleone. This would be the first record of it being seen in Mendocino County. As mentioned above I was in that area on Friday. I have the habit of turning off my cellphone when I’m out birding and if it had been on I would have received a call from my wife noting that she had received two calls about the chickadee. Since I only received word of it when I got home and I am on a “green” birding year I couldn’t just turn around and drive to Lake Cleone to chase it. In fact the next known time I can chase it will be Wednesday morning. This brings up the urges in a birder to chase or “twitch” a bird. They can be very powerful and causes birders to do strange things. I have been trying to calm my urges to chase birds but this chickadee made them flow. The chickadee has not been refound as of this date. The following clip from one of my favorite books made into a movie explains the feelings I went through:-) Imagine the “Ring” as the Black-capped Chickadee and I am Galadriel passing the “test”


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