A Small Personal Success Story

I have mentioned several times that the Mendocino Transit Authority’s (MTA) policy of not being able to take bikes on their bike racks in certain areas of Ukiah because of tight turns wasn’t publicized in either their bus schedules or on their website. I   attended a board meeting on November 21st and mentioned this fact. This morning I went to their website and took this screenshot .


I like it when someone listens to me. A small success story.


End of Week Birding

My birding experiences this week added a couple of birds for the year. While walking north on Ten Mile Beach I heard some alarm calls from what turned out to be 4 Common Terns. A Parasitic Jaeger was chasing them towards shore. When the Jaeger broke off the chase I could see it’s long tapered central tail feathers. Jaegers steal food from other seabirds. The picture below is one of mine from a Fort Bragg Pelagic trip.

My Friday SOS Survey turned up another Semipalmated Sandpiper, the third I’ve found at Virgin Creek this year. None were found during the surveys last year. This individual was aggressive and chased the Least Sandpipers around. It is a trait I’ve read about for them but had not seen before. It was also darker in the neck area then previous SESA’s. As I’ve previously stated they are rare on the west coast.

There were also 2 Marbled Godwits on the beach which was a first for me this Summer.

To add to my excitement,State Parks finally replaced the Virgin Creek bike rack that had been destroyed earlier in the year. It took them 5 months which is probably fast for them.

Totals for the year are now 226 bird species with over 1749 truck miles saved.


Friday SOS Survey

The excitement for my SOS Survey today wasn’t the shorebirds but what was left of my bike rack at Virgin Creek.  As you might remember from a very early post the bike rack at Virgin Creek was destroyed by a heavy truck during some construction on the haul rd. 


When I got there today, what was left of the bike rack was gone.

The bushes had been cut back which was good because there were some sticker bushes there. I’m hoping that this means that State Parks is going to replace the bike rack. For the time being this is my new bike rack.

It’s the Snowy Plover information kiosk. Hope they don’t mind! The shorebirds are still returning but nothing new was seen today. I’ve noticed that there seems to be more people fishing at Virgin Creek. It’s something I’ve not seen in the past. I asked one of them how it was going and he actually held his hands out about a foot indicating he was doing good. 

I believe this is a Kelp Greenling. He said that he and another person were catching at least one per day. They were good eating. The fisherman was from Chico where I retired from the Postal Service. Small world.

Added a new year bird today. It was a Tricolored Blackbird at my new favorite birding spot at Fred Holmes Lumberyard. TRBL’s are listed as rare here in Mendocino. There is one colony on Highway 20 at Maguire Pond and another in Potter Valley. A local birder doing a SOS Survey at Glass Beach noted a TRBL near the lumberyard and I knew it would show up sooner or later there.

That’s 221 birds with over 1563 car miles saved.


Tragedy at Virgin Creek

Friday March 8th, I arrived at Virgin Creek for my SOS Survey only to find “my” bike rack destroyed, flattened, by some monster truck. I call it “my” bike rack because I’m the only one that I know of that uses it. 

You can see the truck tracks in the picture. After the survey I went up to the MacKerricher Park maintenance area to report this outrage and was nearly run over by several monster trucks in their yard. All this activity, I believe, is because of the work being done on the Haul Rd. that I reported on earlier.


Actually the real tragedy at Virgin Creek wasn’t the bike rack. While I was biking the Haul Rd. I noticed an older man with a toy airplane under his arm walking out to the bluffs south of the beach. I was able to get a picture of his back.

Sure enough, while surveying at the first rocks just north of the main beach I saw a flock of Turnstones come by me heading north. I looked to the south and saw the plane flying over the rocks and the beach.

I’m sure that the flock of Turnstones were spooked by the plane. Even the gulls, normally at the creek’s mouth, moved north.  

Will have to find out from State Parks if this is allowed. 

I also wonder how I can get such a good picture of a moving small plane from a great distance when I can’t get one for a bird.

During the survey I found my first of year Willet and continued to find a Rock Sandpiper amongst the Black Turnstones and Surfbird flock. The longer it stays around the rarer it gets. Also had 2 Greater Yellowlegs in Pudding Creek as seen from the trestle bridge.

My totals as of today, Sunday March 10th, are 151 species with over 524 miles saved. I added Allen’s Hummingbird and Violet-green Swallow at the Little River Airport yesterday.