Huntington Beach Birding
From about 1045 to 1230 today, the Sooty Tern was in view either on the tern island (first island to east visible from boardwalk) with the Elegant Terns or flying around with the terns in response to raptors (Red-tailed Hawk and Peregrine Falcon). At one point, the Sooty Tern flew right over the boardwalk! I was told that earlier it was sitting in front of old bird blind at top of island (favorite spot last year), but we found it sitting on far north side of island with small group of Elegant Terns (and four decoys). Later it was sitting by itself about 50 feet north of the bird blind.
While watching the Sooty Tern, one of our group spotted a subadult Swainson's Hawk soaring high over the boardwalk - my first for Bolsa Chica.
Two Gull-billed Terns were observed earlier in the morning as they flew in calling from the east over Harriett Regional Park before descending low over the Bolsa Chica ponds. One of the pair swooped down on a group of about 20 or 30 Western Sandpipers and came away with a bird. They landed on nearby spit but before I could get my scope on them, a Ring-billed Gull chased them off. They landed in a distant pond where I observed the one tern hand the prey item to the other and it was promptly swallowed. I'm certain that it was a Western Sandpiper as the sandpiper flock was in area that receives little use by Snowy Plovers (recent use seems to be concentrated on open flats but this was narrow edge between water and dike road). They take an amazing variety of prey items but I had not heard Western Sandpiper listed before. Both adults sported one silvery band on their left legs. I informed the Bolsa Chica biologist (Peter Knapp) of their presence. He'd recently seen one Gull-billed Tern here. It appears that there's now a mated pair here at Bolsa Chica.
Long Beach, Orange County