Tuesday 19 February 2013

Rock on

Fresh this morning out on the tip of Bodega Head, it wasn't long before I picked up the Rock Sandpiper amongst a small group of Surfbirds and Black Turnstones. A very rare winter visitor this far south, I was well pleased to see this 'Purple Sand of the Pacific' as it was a new bird for me. Thanks to a bit of ingenuity and guts from JJ, I scrambled down the eroding cliff face to get some proper views as it fed on rockpools just above the crashing waves.

Rock Sandpiper Bodega Head, California 18th Feb 2013
And here is one of the Surfbirds it chose to keep company with: -
So, heading back to the town itself, we were able to quickly locate the overwintering Nashville and Wilson's Warblers, as well as a couple of Orange-crowned and Townsend's Warblers, below Diekmann's Store. Yellow-rumped Warblers were absolutely everywhere - present in their 100s. But, with our eyes firmly fixed on the gull action, only a Swamp Sparrow near Salmon Creek could get in our way before heading off to Lucchesi Park in Petaluma. I'll keep it brief here, but totally mindblowing views of loads of Thayer's Gulls of all ages, lots of other interesting gulls including hybrids, including a real dopy looking Glaucous-winged x Glaucous (my first of this concoction). Just a couple of the 800 or so shots; I'll save some of the others for another time!
presumed juvenile Glaucous-winged x Glaucous Gull

juvenile Thayer's Gull up close and personal

adult Thayer's Gull

presumed adult American Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull
Last hour of light spent at Shollenberger - nice groups of American Avocets, a large flock of distant Canvasbacks, a couple of Cinnamon and Green-winged Teals while numerous Red-winged Blackbirds, White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows present. The day was rounded off with a Dennys, our third night of crap American food.

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