Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the vernal pool on the Mendocino Headlands there
were about 28 red-necked phalaropes, 2 dunlin (in breeding plumage),
6-8 dowitchers, both long and short-billed, I believe, 70 western and
semi-palmated(?) sandpipers, and 6 Canada Geese. For such a small pool
it was teeming with life.
I also pinpointed the nest site of a pair of Northern Harriers. I saw
them flying together, low, and the male was carrying something small
like a mouse or vole. I believe they performed a mid-air transfer, but
I adjusted my binoculars at just the wrong time and missed it. They
each landed immediately after, the female disappearing into what I
think is the nest site, and the male landing a distance away without
prey. I later saw the male carry a piece of dried grass to the assumed
nest site, and leave carrying nothing.
I had never seen a pair together before. The difference between the
grey male and brown female is quite striking.