Rock Sandpiper, Pileated Woodpecker
Some days just don't go according to plan. The plan was simple: find the
Snow Bunting at MacKerricher State Park and maybe a Lapland Longspur; stop
by Mendocino Headlands for a Chestnut-collared Longspur; locate the Rock
Sandpiper reported at Bodega Bay. That was the plan.
We arrived at Laguna Point at 8:45 this morning and found our friend Dave
Weber. (Good news.) Dave had arrived an hour earlier and had not seen the
Snow Bunting. (Bad news.) He pointed out 3 ROCK SANDPIPERS on nearby rocks
surrounded by Surfbirds, Black Turnstones, Black-bellied Plovers, and Black
Oystercatchers. (Good news.) While waiting for the bunting we found a fourth
Rock Sandpiper and saw a number of NORTHERN FULMARS and juvenile
BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES. (More good news.) Even though we hated to leave the
two White-crowned Sparrows that had done their best for 4 hours to stand-in
for the missing bunting, we finally gave up at 1:00 P.M. No bunting. No
longspur. (Bad news.) The closest we came to the Snow Bunting was meeting
someone who had seen it the day before - Toby Tobkin. (Nice lady - very good
Our stop at Mendocino Headlands didn't exactly go as planned either. We
failed to find a Chestnut-collared Longspur. In fact we failed to find the
Sister City Monument. Oh well.
Since we had already seen Rock Sandpipers at Laguna Point we decided to
chuck the rest of the plan, skip Bodega Bay, and head home by way of Hwy
128. 7 miles before Hwy 128 runs into Hwy 101, just barely in Mendocino
County, a female PILEATED WOODPECKER flew in front of our car and landed on
the side of a telephone pole. This was definitely not in the plan!
Amazingly, the woodpecker waited for us to find a place to turn around, wait
for traffic to clear, and return. We stopped in a driveway across the street
from the pole and observed our first California Pileated at close range for
several minutes. Very exciting!
Sometimes things don't go according to plan. Sometimes they go better.
Dennis and Patricia Braddy