My friend Pat MacEwen and I drove up from Stockton Wednesday. I was looking
for Harlequin Duck and Rock Sandpiper. Pat is a beginner so most things were
new for her.
We tried Glass Beach, but nothing was around but a Red-breasted Merganser.
We went to MacKerricher and I made it out to Laguna Point and back. Not a
mean feat (especially after Glass Beach) as I'm partially disabled and can't
walk far or stand long. No Rock Sandpipers, but Black Oystercatchers, a
Whimbrel, and IDing cormorants and gulls kept Pat busy. A Pacific Loon flew
Thursday morning we made it a point to be at Laguna Point at high tide. No
Rock Sandpipers. Pat spotted some oystercatchers and a Black Turnstone on a
rock. On closer inspection, there were at least 20 oystercatchers and five
turnstones in a group. It was hard to tell, as most of them were sleeping
and unless you got a flash of red or pink it was hard to tell the birds from
the rock. I saw 15-20 Sanderlings fly by.
As we started to leave I was thinking I was too sore to try Glass Beach
again (I was wondering if I could make it back to the car). A couple of
other birders arrived singly and gave advice. One was Dorothy Tobkin (Toby)
who is familiar to this list. She said she'd been sick, and didn't think
anyone had seen the sandpipers in days- but they should still be around for
another couple of weeks. She didn't think the high tide was high enough for
a good chance at a sighting, though. She said there were scoters in the
water off Ward Ave. and I wouldn't even have to get out of the car- so Pat
and I decided to forget Glass Beach and hit Ward Ave. before leaving for
Well, the second bird I put my bins on was a gorgeous drake Harlequin!
Thanks, Toby!!! I hope one of you up there thanks her for me, as she said
she doesn't have email. I put my window-mounted scope up and enjoyed that
beauty for almost a half hour. It was amazingly hard keeping track of him
as he rode the waves and dove and dove and dove. But fun!
Next year, I'll get that Rock Sandpiper. Maybe a high tide in January...