Monday, 18 February 2013

California intro

Today (Sunday) was the first full day of being in California, with just an hour or so down Half Moon Bay after the flight from London spent birding yesterday. First oddity was sunshine, and there's been plenty of it throughout the weekend. Birds have been plentiful too and it has been a typically relaxing, stress free trip so far. However, those gulls predictably are as hard and frustrating as I thought - loads of Western x Glaucous-wingeds and also smaller numbers of American Herring x Glaucous-winged. Needless to say though, we've plucked out over 50 Thayer's already with some giving themselves up like the two below: -
adult Thayer's Gull Jenner 17 Feb 2013

adult Thayer's Gull Salmon Creek 17 Feb 2013
It certainly has already been an education, with thayeri just totally variable - the males long-billed and snouty, females more subdued features; many more pale irises that I was led to believe (most adults had varying degrees of paleness) while primary colouration also variable from nearly black to slate-grey. So perhaps the adult was really one overall!
Varied Thrush Point Arena 17 Feb 2013

Ruby-crowned Kinglet Point Arena 17 Feb 2013
Anyway, plenty of other things to look at too today - a couple of lovely Varied Thrushes, Townsend's Warblers and Golden-crowed Sparrows to name but a few. Birds such as Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-crowned Sparrows are common, and to boot, we've ended the day with six species of sparrow! All of these birds seen in spectacular scenery too.
Western Willet Bodega Bay 17 Feb 2013

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