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508Pt. Arena area 1/5

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  • vishnu
    Jan 5, 2003
      Hello Mendobirders,
      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?