Posts Tagged ‘Black Turnstone’


September 26, 2014

More fine work from the lens of Barbara Bens on our PIB trip along the California Coast earlier this month:BP FLIES LOW
Brown Pelicans at ease around the ocean.
Pair of Condors high over the ridge at the top of Pfeiffer-Burns State Park, Big Sur.
Elephant seals scuffling at Piedras Blancas.

Not all elephant seals are warlike all the time: PECEFUL PILE

Great Horned Owl in flight at Drake’s Beach, Pt. Reyes
Heermann’s Gull thinking deeply. Could be anywhere in coastal California this time of year.



California Quail at Pt. Reyes National Seashore visitors center.
Rockpipers: Surfbird on left, Black Turnstone on right. Asilomar State Beach.
Red-shouldered Hawk in fog east of Morro Bay.
rsh  n fog
Western Scrub-Jay:
Warerfall at Pfeiifer-Burns:
White-crowned Sparrow in flight:
Flying Willet


September 16, 2014

gull chips1

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This incident of gull vs. tourists took place at Limantour Beach, Pt. Reyes, a few days ago.


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Today I was leading a group of birders and we stopped for dinner at an outdoor seafood cafe in Ventura. Some other diners left their table and a first-year Western Gull quickly swooped down to empty the small container of tartar sauce left on the table. That very same gull also proved adept at catching French fries with his beak.

Why Ventura? Tomorrow we take the Island Packers boat out to Santa Cruz Island for the endemic Island Scrub-Jay, an example of evolutionary giantism, like the Komodo monitor lizards, but not as dangerous.

If you;re interested in seeing some California specialties, PIB will work with you on a custom trip or you can join one of our standard ones. Just on this first day we’ve gotten California Gnatcatcher, Common Murre, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Royal and Elegant Tern, Black Oystercatcher and Turnstone, Marbled Godwit, Red-necked Phalarope, Heermann’s Gull, Black-bellied Plover and California Towhee.


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.


September 22, 2011

UPDATE: SIGN-UPS FOR THIS TRIP CLOSE ON NOVEMBER 15, 2011.  This coming January PIB and Minneapolis Audubon are teaming up on a trip to the Pacific Northwest.  For Minnesotans the weather will seem mild despite the rain.  The wintering birds will agree.  Most have come down  from the Arctic to enjoy the temperate weather of coastal Oregon and Washington State.  The trip will begin and end in Portland.  For a complete itinerary, dates and list of target birds click here.

Here are soe pictures taken by birder Bob Shade on one previous trip:

Male Barrow’s Goldeneye on Hood Canal.

Black Turnstone on the rocks at Seaside, Oregon.

Pair of Harlequin Ducks just off the ferry dock at Keystone Harbor on Whidbey Island, WA.  This photo by tour leader, Harry Fuller.

A Pacific Wren in brush at Fort Lewis, OR, near the mouth of the Columbia River.  And a Surfbird with its gray back on the same stretch of beach as the turnstones.

A bunch of Brant watching a bunch of birders near Hama Hama, WA.

Other birds we see on this trip include: Red-throated and Pacific Loons, Black Oystercatcher, Long-tailed Duck, Pigeon Guillemot and Rhino Auklet, Glaucous-winged and Western Gulls, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Anna’s Hummingbird.  We will also visit Ft. Clatsop where Lewis & Clark spent the winter 1804-5 and a Native American cultural center for the S’Kallam Tribe.

Here’s a link to blogs done during last year’s trip.

Birding the Continent’s Edge

February 7, 2011

Out PIB Northwestern Birding Trip was at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon today.  And then went south to Cannon Beach on the Pacific shore.  Have you ever really seen the feathering on a Black Turnstone?  We did.

We encountered White-fronted Geese in a Cannon Beach city park.

Altogether we’ve seen over seventy species.  Today we added Surf Scoter, the turnstones, Dunlin, Sanderling, Horned Grebe, the White-fronts, Varied Thrush (always a hit among visiting birders), Wrentit and Pacific Wren.

Some Northwest Trip Pictures From Bob Shade

February 26, 2010

Top to bottom:  Sunrise that first dawn just outside Astoria.

Barrow’s Goldeneye on Hood Canal.

Black Turnstone on the bouldery beach at Seaside, Oregon.  Just after taking this picture, Bob Shade took a tumble among the jumble of rocks.  He and his camera survived, shaken but unstirred.

Winter Wren in the woods.

Birders on the rainy sand at Cannon Beach, scoping Haystack Rock.  We later found Harlequins here but never located the Black Oystercatcher.

Birders all in a row.

Seabirds From Boatside

February 19, 2010

How many Pigeon Guillemots can you see before you stop seeing them?  Our count this final day in the field was in the hundreds and our group noticed them every time.  Birders from land-locked Colorado were expertly spotting the PIGUs at half a mile before the day was out.  Adult on the left.

This pair is likely a male with his young, the pale bird on the right.

Adult Pigeon Guillemots.  They were the most plentiful of the alcids but we saw numerous Rhino Auklets and Marbled Murrelets, plus one each of Cassin’s Auklet and Common Murre.  Most were too far away for even attempting photos.


This loon with the flat top is a Common, motoring away from us.

Much less skeptical of our presence were the Red-throated Loons that seemed to know we couldn’t approach them in deep water.

Horned Grebe, which was one of the two most abundant off the Olympic Peninsula.  The Red-necked Grebe was also plentiful but stayed away from land and boat alike.  Many of these pictures were taken from the Port Townsend ferry dock or on Whidbey Island to the north.


A turnstone tornado on the structure of the Port Townsend ferry dock.  Those would be Black Turnstones.

That gray one with the yellow legs: one of the two Surfbirds I saw among the darker and slightly smaller turnstones.

Alcids all around

February 10, 2010

Two adult Pigeon Guillemot on the left.  Adult with immature on the right.  The medium-sized alcids were abundant today in Admiralty Sound off Port Townsend.  We also found a Common Murre, one lone Cassin’s Auklet, scads of Marbled Murrelets in pairs, some young Rhino Auklets and then a dense float of adults.  The latter were about a mile offshore from Point Wilson, Fort Worden State Park.

Altogether our group had over 75 species on the day, our most productive of the five-day PIB Northwest birding trip.  We had over 115 species for the trip and everybody picked up lifers.  And photos of many of our birds will be forthcoming on this blog.  Here are a couple more:

A Turnstone Tornado.  Over 120 Black Turnstones on the wooden pier structure of the ferry terminal at Port Townsend.  They were accompanied by shrill whistles and a couple Surfbirds.  That’s the Surfbird with yellow legs in the final picture.

We also had a trio of Trumpeters in a pasture on Whidbey Island, giving us a total of 30 waterfowl on the trip.  We chose to spend our time chasing a Yellow-billed Loon off Point Wilson rather than pick up the 31st, Ruddy Ducks in a pond in Port Townsend.  We didn’t get the loon but did see the float of adult Rhino Auklets, some already in breeding plumage.

Astoria and the northern Oregon coast

February 7, 2010

We birded nearly all day in light rain.  The sunshine we saw was always just above the horizon line, never overhead.  We had early morning rainbows, then the sunlight seemed to give up and retreat before the hovering grayness.  But the birds were still visible if you kept your lenses relatively dry.  Here’s what the dawn looked like:

At a small riverside park in Warrenton we had our first Bald Eagles by 8 AM:

After the grown-ups left, this young eagle used the same perch just above the shoreline:

At Fort Stevens we had large flocks of Dunlin and a few Sanderlings, our first Peregrine of the day, Winter Wren, our first Common Mergansers of the trip, meadowlarks at the edge of the continent, and three Varied Thrush encounters.

At Seaside we found Surfbirds with a couple of accompanying Black Turnstone on the surf-slickened rocks.  I got this picture and one of our group took a tumble on the slick rocks gettting a much closer shot.  He seems to be mentally and physically unharmed by the fall.

At the Surfbird beach we also found some White-winged Scoters and Western Grebe offshore.

At an overlook along Hwy 101 south of Cannon Beach we scored: BC and CB Chickadees, Black and Surf Scoters, Raven, Harlequin, Pacific Loon, Rhino Auklet, Pelagic Cormorant, 3 Brown Pelicans, Western Gull, Western Grebe.  For some of our birders lifers seemed to be falling out of the sky.  So we eneded the day with all 3 scoters.

At Fort Clatsop near the end of the afternoon, there was a calling Red-shouldered Hawk, seen by three of our group.

Two male Surf Scoters in an estuary in Seaside.

Location:     Fort Stevens Park
Observation date:     2/6/10
Number of species:     20

Surf Scoter     15
Bufflehead     35
Common Merganser     3
Double-crested Cormorant     5
Pelagic Cormorant     1
Great Blue Heron     1
Bald Eagle     3
Peregrine Falcon     1
Sanderling     10
Dunlin     500
Western Gull     35
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted)     2
Winter Wren     1
Golden-crowned Kinglet     1
Varied Thrush     15
European Starling     6
Fox Sparrow     1
Song Sparrow     4
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon)     8
Western Meadowlark     4

Location:     Seaside
Observation date:     2/6/10
Number of species:     14

Mallard     6
Surf Scoter     8
White-winged Scoter     8
Bufflehead     16
Common Goldeneye     2
Western Grebe     1
Double-crested Cormorant     3
Black Turnstone     2
Surfbird     35
Western Gull     18
Glaucous-winged Gull     1
Rock Pigeon     2
Belted Kingfisher     1
American Crow     25

Location:     Cannon Beach and Ecola Park
Observation date:     2/6/10
Number of species:     15

Harlequin Duck     3
Surf Scoter     16
White-winged Scoter     8
Black Scoter     6
Pacific Loon     1
Western Grebe     2
Brown Pelican     3
Double-crested Cormorant     4
Pelagic Cormorant     2
Western Gull     140
Rhinoceros Auklet     1
American Crow     30
Common Raven     2