Archive for September, 2012


September 23, 2012

There is a wondwerful series of photos taken by Marilyn Rhodes on our recent Partnership of International Birding trip to California. The trip was sponsored by Denver Audubon. Here’s Marilyn’s series [on Facebook] of two soaring California Condors over our heads along Hwy 1 along the spectacular Big Sur Coast. Click here.

With fewer than 250 individuals in the wild, the California Condor is the rarest bird knwon to still exist in North America. We can only hope the Eskimo Curlew or I-B Woodpecker come along alive to replace the condor, one of the great coonservation success stories of the past two decades. The condors are now successfully breeding in the wild.

When there are no birds about the Big Sur coast does offer some scenery to look at. Click on image above for a full-screen view.


September 17, 2012

Some more images from our PIB birding trip in northern California.
Red-shouldered Hawk, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. This modest sized buteo is well-adapted to urban hunting where rats can be caught from a perch, not requiring a lot of soaring around. This bird’s frequent loud screams are a commonplace sound in California city parks.

The large dark bird on the right is a first-year Western Gull. The medium-sized dark bird on the left is an adult Heermann’s Gull. The crowd consists of basic plumage Elegant Terns. Ocean Beach San Francisco.

This is America’s only member of the babbler family, a Wrentit, in the Marin Headlands just off the Golden Gate Bridge.

Brown Pelicans in flight. The young birds have pale bellies, the adults have pale faces. It takes three or four years for this species to reach maturity and breeding plumage.

A snowdrift of sleeping White Pelicans in Marin County. In some marshes we saw both Brown Pelicans fishing with dives, and the larger White Pelicans seining the same water while afloat.


September 16, 2012

I just got back from leading a six-day birding trip across Central California. We hit San Francisco, Pt. Reyes, Livermore, Sierra Foothills, Monterey and Big Sur. We had 149 species before six of our birders took the extension pelagic trip with Debbie Shearwater out of Monterey Harbor.
Biggest bird, of course, was a pair of California Condors about sixty feet overhead. They turned out to be father and son. Each free-flying condor carries a wing number.

Some other highlights included such California specialties as Oak Titmouse, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, the endemic Yellow-billed Magpie, California Thrasher on Mines Road south of Livermore, Townsend’s Warbler (a wintering species), Tricolored Blackbird on Pt. Reyes Peninsula and California Towhee.
Uncommon migrants included 2 Harlequins at Pt. Reyes, a Pectoral Sandpiper at Asilomar State Beach in Pacific Grove and a Chestnut-sided Warbler at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Birds that are generally not found east of the Sierra Nevada included: White-headed Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, Sooty Shearwater, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Black Oystercatcher, Heermann’s Gull.
Other birds of limited range included Elegant Tern, Marbled Godwit and Snowy Plover.
We saw hundreds of Red-necked Phalarope:

Altogether we had two dozen shorebird species on this trip.