Fall Big Day 2001
- Sat, 29 Sep 2001 -- On Saturday Chuck Vaughn, Matthew Matthiessen, and I
participated in the PRBO Bird-o-thon representing Mendocino County. We were
joined on the coast by Dorothy Tobkin and Jerry and Nikki White. This is
the fifth year that we have done this event. We ended the day with 147
species, breaking the previous fall record by one.
The first bird of the day was a Barn Owl at 4:45 in the town of
Hopland. We continued owling on the grounds of the Hopland Field Station,
and by sunup we had five species. The fifth was a LONG-EARED OWL hooting on
the top of the ridge at the poorwill hour just as the light was gathering
in the east. This was probably the best bird of the day.
After we worked our way down from the ridge through the chaparral
and oak woodland we went on to the Ukiah Sewage Treatment Plant where
Matthew spotted a pair of VESPER SPARROWS, as reported earlier - another
very good species locally.
From there we went to the Joe Riley picnic area at Lake Mendocino
and scoped the lake for waterfowl and shorebirds. Then on for a brief visit
to Burris Lane in Potter Valley where we picked up a few species not seen
elsewhere during the day, and then back to the inlet and the Mesa Day Use
area at the lake.
Zipping to the coast through Boonville, we met up with the rest of
the party at Navarro Beach and headed up the coast, hitting Caspar Creek,
Brewery Gulch, Mendocino Headlands, Glass Beach, Bald Hill, Virgin Creek,
Laguna Point, Lake Cleone, and Ward Avenue.
At Glass Beach we found a gorgeous pair of HARLEQUIN DUCKS at close
range. On Bald Hill Road there was an early FERRUGINOUS HAWK. At Laguna
Point we had good scoping conditions and picked up POMARINE JAEGER,
PARASITIC JAEGER (probably Long-tailed too) and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER from
shore, among others. On the Lake Cleone boardwalk an unexpected LONG-BILLED
CURLEW announced itself and flew over in clear view. The last birds of the
day were some BLACK SCOTERS at Ward Avenue in Cleone as the sun sank into
It was a long, tiring, satisfying, and fun day, 3:15 AM to 10:30 PM
for me. With every Big Day there are some Big Misses: Osprey, Say's Phoebe,
Lewis's Woodpecker, Ruddy Duck, White-fronted Goose i.a. this year - all of
which I've seen easily in the next day and a half. A full list follows --
Sat, 29 Sep 2001 Mendocino County
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl
Black-throated Gray Warbler