Today, my daughter and I were accompanied by the entertaining and informative Dave Bengston for a long day of birding parts of the north coast of Mendocino County. First stop was Glass Beach (just north of Ft. Bragg) at about 7am, where we looked for the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER. No luck, except the usual suspects.
At Virgin Beach we met Oliver (Ollie) Kolkmann, also of Willits, who mentioned that he spotted a HUDSONIAN GODWIT with a few MARBLED GODWITS, but that just a few minutes before we arrived, a PERIGRINE FALCON(?)(well, some sort of agressive bird) flew over and scattered the host of gulls and the godwits. We continued north along the beach and came across Dorothy Tobkin (Toby) who was waving frantically at us from a distance until we understood to look out over the waves at three birds flying south. They turned out to be one SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER, one WHIMBREL, and one immature HUDSONIAN GODWIT. The trio landed about a hundred yards south of us, so we meandered (by that I mean we sprinted) over to about twenty yards away to get good looks and pictures (this was at 10:30am, sunny, and on a sandy beach) of a very co-operative bird.
Dorothy also mentioned that she had seen the BUFF-BREASTED SANDPIPER yesterday after seeing our previous post.
From there, we went further north to Ward Avenue beach and saw the usual suspects until we noticed a couple of birds harassing the BROWN PELICAN and gulls about a hundred yards out. They turned out to be a dark morph and a light morph pair of immature POMARINE JAEGERS operating close to shore.
From there, we went to Lake Cleone and almost immediately refound the male SUMMER TANAGER at the first forks in the trail on the north side of the lake. There were numerous PYGMY NUTHATCHES.
We moved on to the beach to the west of the lake, where (north of the wooden steps to the beach at the parking lot) we spotted a possible first winter YELLOW-BILLED LOON. It was too far out to get a positive ID, but the bottom mandible was definitely curved upward, and the bill was large, yellow, and pale. It may still be there for someone else to take a look on Thursday.
Actually, don't tell Dave, but we were in a hurry to go because we had worn Dave out.
Best regards and good birding,
Mike and Alexandria Curry
p.s. In all fairness, Dave had bicycled to Hopland from Ukiah and back the day before.