Hello All. Today Elizabeth Ames and I birded along the Mendocino coast, from Pt Arena up to Ft Bragg. In Pt Arena, Al the Albatross was a no-show from 9:20 to 11, but three ANCIENT MURRELETS, including one almost under the pier, were nice to see. Also of note were three separate flocks of CACKLING GEESE totaling at least 350 individuals. They were all over the ocean, flying north, so I guess they were migrating Aleutians. Along Mountain View Rd, about a half mile inland of Highway 1 was a light FERRUGINOUS HAWK. 50 COMMON RAVENS in the Garcia Bottoms seemed like a high concentration for that species.
The Caspar Pond had no unusual geese, but a pair of COMMON MERGANSERS and a trio of HOODED MERGANSERS were nice. A SPOTTED SANDPIPER was the most unusual bird at Caspar Creek mouth.
At Rose Memorial Park in Ft Bragg the BALTIMORE ORIOLE and YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER both continued, as did two NASHVILLE WARBLERS. All of these birds visited the large blooming Banksia in the middle of the cemetery. At least one of the Nashvilles is a western bird, of the ridgewayi subspecies. Also present was one WESTERN TANAGER. Stops at Laguna Point, Ward Avenue and Virgin Creek yielded zero Rock Sandpipers, but we did see some other notable birds. 37 BLACK OYSTERCATCHERS tied my highest-ever count of the species for Mendocino County (37 were also seen at the same place on 7 Jan 2007 and 12 Jan 2009). Two more ANCIENT MURRELETS and a RED-NECKED GREBE were north of Laguna Point. Ten BLACK SCOTERS off Ward Avenue were expected. Another flock of 45 CACKLING GEESE flew north offshore of Virgin Creek Beach, while on the beach itself were 80 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERs, 1 DUNLIN, 55 SANDERLINGS and 16 THAYER'S GULLS; most of the gulls were adults. A female
HARLEQUIN DUCK was at Virgin Creek Beach, while a male and two females were at Glass Beach.
After dark we tried some owling. At about 4 miles up the Little River Airport Rd we heard a very distant BARRED OWL at about 6PM (just after dusk), while on the Comptche-Ukiah Road we had a SPOTTED OWL respond to Barred Owl recordings.
Potter Valley, CA
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