Birding and dead Stuff

Haven't blogged in awhile mainly because of a disfunctional blogging app. I have upgraded my IPad to Apple's new iOS8 but my old blogging app that I learned on hasn't updated and it's current version is unusable. Could have used my old computer to blog but I don't think I would know how. This post will be done on Blogsy and I'm totally unfamiliar with it. You will see how this post goes and who knows, maybe I've found a new blogging app.

The “official” SOS shorebird survey period ended on the 15th of this month but some of us just keep birding on. Winter shorebird data needs to be gathered. I have to state that I don't think that the shorebird activity at Virgin Creek Beach has been that good but the tern activity along with the Black Skimmer back in June has been the highlight of the surveys. Elegant Terns were the most numerous of any year on record. During my last “official” SOS survey I witnessed an example of kleptoparasitism between some Heermann's Gulls and Elegant Terns. I'll let you look it up. Also that day I found 4 Common Terns on the beach. While they are not rare at this time in Mendocino County they are hard to find on the beach.

One of them seemed to have an injury under it's left wing.

Earlier in the month, coming back from an SOS survey, there were 6 White-faced Ibis at Pudding Creek. They are becoming more common in Mendocino.

That same day there was a “rare” coastal Ring-billed Gull at Virgin Creek.

We have actually had some rain during the past two weeks. I missed a SOS survey because of it. I was able to get to the beach yesterday. The Pectoral Sandpiper was the star. We had lot's of them last year and there were 3 yesterday. The Pectoral Sandpiper is not a small shorebird. I thought this picture was interesting showing it's size compared to the kelp on the beach.

If you followed my blog last year you would know that I walked up Ten Mile Beach often. I had not been there since California State Parks finished taking out the old washed out Haul Road. Earlier this month I decided to make that first trip. Birding wasn't all that great but I did find a few interesting things. First of all this is how it looks with the Haul Road taken out. Both of these pictures feature an area, Inglenook Creek, where I birded last year.

It's not pretty out there but sand should erase these tracks in a short time. One of the things that I found during my walk was the sand covered by Velella Velella, By-the-Wind Sailors. This picture shows a combination of them freshly washed up and a few older ones.

This is one that was found during a recent pelagic trip. It's amazing that they die by the thousands, if not millions, when they wash up on the beach.

Please check out Wikipedia for more information on these creatures. Another thing I found was a dead Mola Mola. Credit goes to Alison Cebula, state parks Snowy Plover specialist, for telling me what it was. It's also called an Ocean Sunfish.

Here's a picture of a live one taken during the pelagic trip out of Fort Bragg.

You can read about the Mola Mola at Wikipedia. They are an interesting fish. They eat Jellyfish which we have plenty of here. Mola Mola, Jellyfish, Velella Velella, and Elegant Terns are all an indication of a warming ocean.

My Ten Mile Beach walk has been about dead things. I have to continue that theme with this picture of a dead River Otter found near Fenn Creek up near the old Haul Rd. I have always thought of Ten Mile Beach as a graveyard. There has always been lot's of dead carcasses there.

So let's talk about life. During the recent Mendocino Coast Audubon Society sponsored “beginner” pelagic trip, which I got to go on because of a last minute cancellation, we got a surprise when a Townsend's Warbler came on board. We were well out to see and the warbler tried to fly off but kept coming back to the boat. This is not that unusual. Birds get lost all the time. At one time it landed on my shoulder. I got this picture.

Good news! Captain Randy found a box, the warbler was captured, boxed and released when we got back to shore. It was last seen in the trees across from our mooring point. We wish it the best.

Birding at the Little River Airport has been fairly good. In the Fall local migrants, Yellow Warblers, Western Tanagers and something unexpected, always seem to show up. So far the unexpected is a Say's Phoebe. Not a good picture but you go with the picture given you.

Double-crested Cormorants are fairly rare at the airport. This picture is a little unusual for it's location. It was actually watching a plane go by.

Had some disappointment this last week. Dorian Anderson the birder who is biking across the United States in search of 600 species bypassed our section of the coast and moved down Highway 101 to the Bay Area. He actually stayed at the Ukiah Best Western for a night. I had planned to meet him on the Haul Road and bike with him. Maybe even help find him a bird he needed. Didn't happen.

Instead I helped this guy.

While I was birding Navarro Beach Road he came running down the road expecting to reconnect with Highway 1 later. I had to disappoint him and and tell him that that wasn't going to happen. With a few choice words about maps he turned around. In a write up in the local paper I learned his name is Jamie Ramsay. He's from London and he's running from Vancouver, British Columbia to Buenos Aires, Argentine. He expects the trip to take two years. He's riding for several fine charities. You can view his website here. I wish him the best.

I'm going to publish this post. The new app is better in some ways but not in others. Will have to see what the end product looks like.

It seems that the link to Jamie Ramsey's website is wrong. The correct address is jamieisrunning.com. If this link doesn't work you are on your own.

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