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5697Laysan Albatros Pt. Arena Medocino Co. Dec. 2, 06

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  • Ed DeBellevue
    Dec 3, 2006
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      Laysan Albatros Pt. Arena Medocino Co. Now showing.

      Yesterday I went to up to see if I could see the Laysan Albatross that
      has been occasionally reported at the Pt. Arena pier for several
      years. I arrived about 1:30 PM. On my way out to the pier there was
      quite a nice painting on plywood of my target nailed to the pier
      railing compete with the English and Latin names. I asked one of the
      fishermen if he knew about an albatross that hung out her. He said "Oh
      yeah, Al's here `Al' (sort for Albert or Alice is guess) I saw him
      over there over the there just a few minutes ago".

      This would be a lifer so my heart raced a bit as my hands raised my
      binoculars in search of the wayward bird. Not seeing him my feet moved
      me to the end of the pier and I scanned the water. Out about a hundred
      yards out, floating near a channel marker ball, Al sat on the water
      sleeping. He was about the same size as the ball. Huge. Black and
      white. Bobbing. Shortly, he pulled his pink bill out and shook his
      head, then flew to about 100 feet from the end of the pier. Clear day,
      looks were great. Near tears.

      I am always joyous and gratified to see pelagics from land, as my
      stomach has no guts for Pacific Ocean swells. So seeing this amazing
      bird beauty form a stable platform through my clear 60 power zoom
      Leica Televid was truly awesome. Al is an adult plumaged bird and has
      that Laysan gray eye shadow that made me think that I should be
      thinking of Al more as an Alice.

      One of the locals informed that Al is indeed quite regular. She has
      been arriving in November over the past several years and leaves in
      early April. She is quite tame and I saw her begging food from a
      couple in an orange sea kayak. The gal nudged her away with her
      paddle. The fishermen apparently toss her some fish regularly. Seems
      that the local birders know about her regularity, so they only post it
      occasionally to Mendobirds, as this is no big local deal.

      Al, it seems, is most regularly seen in the early morning and
      afternoon from the pier. Guess she goes fishing herself in between.
      The fisherman said he sees her most every day during her season.

      So all of this is to tell you, that if you would like to see a Laysan
      Albatross without taking a pelagic and having a much slimmer chance of
      seeing one, then Pt. Arena may be a good option for you. It is about a
      3.5 hour drive north from San Francisco up US101, CA 138 and the Pt.
      Arena - Boonville winding road.

      I watched the bird to my fill as there birders arrived and enjoyed a
      similar joyous experience. This was the easiest life bird I have had
      in a long while. Drive up and twich it off. An experience that
      reminded me why I chase birds.

      So I recommend taking the risk if you would like to have great view of
      a Laysan Albatross. That said, you never know when the bird will
      disappear, as we California rarity bird chasers just witnessed with
      Guy's Ross's Gull at Red Hill on the Salton Sea.

      Good luck and good birding,

      Ed DeBellevue
      San Rafael, CA
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