Archive for July, 2012

BEACH BIRDS AND MORE

July 6, 2012

“Wish they all could be California birds….”                  –Beach Birds

Some general information: Whenever we are within ten miles of the coast, a cool wind and/or fog is possible. The northern Pacific Ocean does NOT warm up each summer as do the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico or southern Pacific. Due to currents and upwelling the surface of the Pacific along the Northern California Coast stays very close to 55 degres year round. Clearly that moderates the weather nearby. The cold water and upwelling make for very rich fishing waters which in turn makes for very rich coastal birding. It will make for very cold birders if you come dressed for a day on the beach in Florida.
We will try to be at dinner by 630PM each night. At dinner we will go over the day’s bird sightings and update our checklist(s).

We’re putting together a trip around Northern California for some folks who live east of the Rockies.  Here’s what we’re up to:  Birders arrive at SFO on the morning of September 9.  By noon we will be birding along Ocean Beach in San Francisco.  There’ll be Brandt’s Cormorant, Surf Scoter, Common Murre, Heermann’s Gull, Black Oystercatcher, Marbled Godwit, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Wandering Tattler.  A little uphill from the ocean: California Towhee (see picture below), Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Black Phoebe.
SEPT. 10 We will be at Pt. Reyes, one of the finest birding venues on the Pacific Coast. We will be there for the height of fall migration. Vagrants always possible. In addition we will find some of the local specialties: Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Pelagic Cormorant, Western Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Hutton’s Vireo, California Quail, White-tailed Kite (see picture). Western Sandpiper is also likely. se wil lbird at Pt. Reyes and nearby Bolinas Lagoon.
SEPT. 11 We will move inland from the coast. Along the way we should find Oak Titmouse, Yellow-billed Magpie (a California endemic, see picture below) and maybe even a California Thrasher. We stay this night and next in the Central Valley.
SEPT. 12 We will bird in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. This is our day to find White-headed Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, and some fall migrants that stick to higher elevation. Perhaps a Green-tailed Towhee or Western Tanager. This will be our best chance for a Dipper as well.
SEPT. 13. We head back to the coast at Monterey. In addition to the irresistible sea otters we should find plenty of migrating shorebirds including Red-necked Phalarope, any gulls or loons we may have missed further north, and a chance for wandering sea birds like Black-legged Kittiwake and Parasitic Jaeger that sometimes come near shore. The gull is an adult Western in bright plumage.
SEPT. 14 We will bird Highway 1 along the scenic Big Sur Coast. Our target of the day: California Condor, the largest, self-powered flying animal in North America. The Condor’s return to living and breeding in the wild is a major conservation success story of our generation. We may also find Dipper, Pileated Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Sparrow and Wrentit (America’s only member of the Babbler family).
SEPT. 15 Departure day or optional pelagic birding with Shearwater journeys out of Monterey. Those on the pelagic trip should see Ashy Storm-petrel, Sooty and Buller’s Shearwater, Black0tailed and Laysan Albatross, all three jaegers, Arctic Tern, Sabine’s Gull, Cassin’s and Rhino Auklet, Red Phalarope. Whales and dolphins are also likely on this trip.
If this sounds interesting, contact us at Partnership for International Birding.