On Saturday afternoon 1/5 I visited the Garcia Flats area along Hwy 1 near
Pt. Arena and counted 128 Tundra Swans in the first grassy field just south
(and west) of the Garcia River. It appeared there were likely another 50
swans in the field beyond the first fence. Many of the birds were fairly
close to the highway which made for easy viewing even with binoculars. In
the same first field were approximately 25 Canada Geese and approximately
umpteen gulls (sp).
On the east side of the highway there were more gulls (sp) and 2 flocks of
Great Egrets. One flock was comprised of 50 Great Egrets and the other had
Albert, the Laysan Albatross, was initially several hundred yards offshore
of the Pt. Arena pier but upon perceiving that he was being viewed by an
Albatross authority from the PRBO (who also happened to show up while I was
there) he very cooperatively flew to within 60 feet of the north side of the
pier and then very gradually drifted out with the ebbing tide.
Driving north from Pt. Arena on Hwy 1 I took a side road, prominently
marked as a "Coastal Access". This road is between the Pt. Arena Lighthouse
Rd. and the town of Manchester. After driving the 1 1/2 miles to the
parking area I hiked a trail 1/4 mile to the ocean and as I walked I saw
about 5 or 6 flocks comprising, in total, about 50 Tundra Swans flying north
(presumably from the Garcia River area and presumably to some overnight
roosting accomodations. This was between 5:00 -5:30pm). I wondered
specifically where they were going? Is anyone aware of other coastal sites
utilized by the Tundra Swans during their winter sojourn on our coast?