Monday, April 16, 2012

Big Day records shatered

              The next stop in our California trip was San Francisco where we stayed at a friend's house and went to a birding location 1 mile from her house called Heather Farms Park. Here the only bird we got that we didn't see the rest of the trip was a Red-breasted Sapsucker (an awesome life bird). On our last day in San Fran we woke up at 7:00, had a nice birding session at Heather Farms and then casually found our way to Point Reyes. We were unaware that our biggest day of birding ever lay in front of us.  As we puttered along, we passed the Golden Gate Bridge which turned out to be a wonderful back drop for an amazing life bird, Western Gull.
Gulls are one of my favorite species of birds because they are a challenge to even some of the best experts.  I was turned on to the wonder of gulls by local gull expert Nick Komar.
             At our next stop, our campground, we located a Fox Sparrow an a Hermit Thrush. We then continued on and found 3 species of loon (RT, C, P loons), Godwits, Black Oystercatcher, 2 Scoter (WW and S scoters), Greater Scaup, and White-tail Kite all in Tomales Bay. As we made our way to the light house we located all falcon species commonly found in North America except the Gyrfalcon. This was amazing finding all of these falcons, especially the many Peregrine Falcons on the sea shore. Other birds at the light house were; Brant, Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull, Pigeon Guillemot, and DC, B, and P cormorants. 
                  At a local trail head we also located GIANT ELEPHANT SEALS, a Chipping Sparrow, and 1 American Pipit. this ended the day section of the birding and opened up a whole new type of birding, owling. After a failed attempt at a nearby campground we came back to our KOA and found my life Saw-Whet Owl and a wonderful pair of Great-horned Owls. With these two birds our final  number was 120 in one day! That beat our old score in Texas by 20 birds! What a great day! Here are some pics from the day.
Brant in Bodega Bay sitting in a rainstorm like the rest of the birds

Common Loon

young Snowy Egret

Surf Scoter
Just as a side note I hope that all of you, my readers, have the chance to see an elephant seal, what a cool animal!

Skyler Bol
Good luck birding

P.S. Thank Christian Nunes for the free membership to WFO for young birds!