Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 4:15 - 5:30 PM, The Least Tern was still at Virgin Creek Beach, MacKerricher State Park, just north of Fort Bragg. Upon arrival at about 3:45 PM I could not find the bird. Several people scattered along the beach and no birds except for shote birds along the creek. I then noticed a group of Black-bellied Plovers and sanderlings high on the beach near the fenced closed area for snowy plovers. Upon scoping them I thought I saw the tern. Upon closer inspection I could not find the tern. Dorothy Tobkin (Toby) arrived and we both veiwed these birds ... I even went above them to view down into the pockets and swales.
We both walked north to view the northern beach and upon return Toby noticed the tern in with the group of sanderlings. It was either there all the time or flew in while were were gone. Over the next hour I observed it on the beach four times and foraging out in open waters (as far as a quarter mile offshore) to the west ...always between Virgin Creek Beach and Laguna Point.
It was alone on the beach when I left. This bird is the second Mendocino County record for this species.
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