Friday, 22 February 2013

Monterey today

Still in Monterey this evening after a bird (and mammal filled) day out and about locally. The sun was shining throughout, and a stroll around the harbour early doors produced a few nice bits. Loads of divers and grebes floating around, as well as a Hooded Merganser amongst the Surf Scoters, and the first good looks of Heermann's Gulls this trip. All to a continual raucous yelping of the Californian Sealions.
Sealions - slothing about in the sun

drake Surf Scoter

Heermann's Gull
Then to a whale watching trip where we quickly hit upon a group of 3 Grey Whales, and that was that. Impressive beasts they were and a species I'd not seen before, but as they chose the inner bay to chill out in, it meant that the punters were happy and we didn't go out any further. However, we did luck out on 3 Ancient Murrelets amongst the copious amounts of Rhinoceros Auklets and Guillemots, while the odd 'Pacific' Fulmar and Kittiwake flew by.

Grey Whales doing a bit of blowing
Back on dry land, after a typically American sized 'small' cup of Clam Chowder we headed a couple of miles north to Laguna Grande Park. There we met another birder who told us about a Palm Warbler, which performed admirably and looked suitably rare, from a European perspective at least, feeding amongst the thickets in somewhat waterthrush-style manner.

Palm Warbler, Laguna Grande Park, Monterey
The real prize here, however, was an overwintering American Dipper; a mega rare bird for Monterey and it showed rather well as it fed in typical fashion along the stream coming off the lake.
American Dipper, Laguna Grande Park, Monterey
The day was rounded off with another short drive to Point Pinos where another vagrant - a Vermilion Flycatcher - was also overwintering. A pretty scraggy first-winter bird; a far cry from the jewel you'd expect. A drake Cinnamon Teal showed well on the small pond and a Surfbird was on the rocks with a small group of Black Turnstones, and we made it back to Fisherman's Wharf just before dark, where the vagrant Black-throated Diver was showing in amongst the Pacifics to round off a thoroughly satisfying day.

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