Sunday, 24 February 2013

The last couple of days in California

The last couple of days of my trip to California continued in the same vein, with showy birds in nice light. Friday morning started out in Monterey, where there were similar birds in Laguna Grande Park to the previous day - including the Palm Warbler and loads of Yellow-rumped (predominantly Audubon's Warblers) - but no sign of the American Dipper.
Audubon's Warbler, Monterey 22nd Feb 2013
We headed north from Monterey, and enjoyed a bit of Moss Landing. Loads of showy birds in the harbour area - Clark's and Western Grebes, Brown Pelicans, Heermann's Gulls as well as a few waders such as Hudsonian Whimbrel, Marbled Godwit and the first Semipalmated Plovers and Western Sandpipers of the trip and plenty of Sea Otters too.
Hudsonian Whimbrel, Moss Landing 22nd Feb 2013

Moss Landing holds good numbers of Sea Otters that show extremely well too
The rest of the afternoon was spent doing what I've loved best on this trip, and the primary focus too, which is getting close up looks of properly rare gull species over here in the Britain and Ireland. We'd been tipped off by Alvaro J about a place where you get decent views of Thayer's Gulls in San Jose at Hidden Valley Park, so after the obligatory golden arches stop, we spent an hour or so observing and snapping away; seven Thayer's Gulls present (mainly 2nd-winters) and a perplexing mix of hybrids as always with the Glaucous-winged x Herrings looking uncannily like Thayer's at times.
2nd-winter Thayer's Gull, Hidden Valley Park 22nd Feb 2013 - a slightly structured, retarded individual
We then headed off towards the coast, and the site that we visited on our first afternoon - Venice beach, just north of Half Moon Bay. There were 100s of large gulls present, and in amongst them the usual interesting mix including several Thayer's Gulls, including a third-winter bird (a rare age).
3rd-winter Thayer's Gull - not an age seen regularly by any means. Note the dark markings on the primary coverts, and adult type primary markings including an obvious mirror on P10 and a small mirror on the inner web of P9 and black subterminal mark to P5

1st-winter Glaucous-winged Gull, Venice Beach 22nd Feb 2013
A pretty scenic site too, making a change from all my gull watching on the Thames and rubbish dumps back in England. It also happened that this area was used to film Chasing Mavericks, a film I watched on the plane home earlier today.
Venice Beach, Half Moon Bay
Anyway, more from California on another blog post soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment