Note: Trip reports for each of the above outings will be posted on this site before the next class meeting.
Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley 01-12-13
It was cool and clear in the morning and as expected, Gulls were abundant and diverse. Without much delay, we hiked to the large raft located on the northwestern pond, finding seven species. We were not able to relocate the recently reported Glaucous Gull, but had fun trying. Most target Anseriforms were located, with the exception of Wood Duck and Hooded Merganser. A few sharp eyes among us spotted a lone Golden Eagle over the ridge across Hwy 101.
After securing the ponds, we made a quick tour of the model airplane portion of the park, where we found Western Bluebird in the short grass, but were not rewarded with Say's Phoebe. As is often the case in winter, small numbers of Tree Swallows were seen patrolling the creek.
Next was Coyote Valley where we hoped to find a few high-stakes Raptors. Sure enough, a pair of Golden Eagles were found over the foothills at the end of Palm Avenue, and passed quite close overhead. Northern Harrier was seen here as well as America Kestrel. A short time later, we were on Richmond where the oft-reported Ferruginous Hawk was our target. Two individuals of different ages were circling the alfalfa field and even resting on the ground. Great looks were had by all!
Photo: Brooke Miller
Photo: Caroline Lambert
The Ferruginous Hawk show was incredible from where we stood. But, I ask you now... Is the behavior shown below appropriate for birders or photographers? These two birders marched out into the field (privately owned, by the way) and got within a few feet the bird. You can see the Ferruginous Hawk in the grass on the right. In cases like this, I wonder if the two shown realize they were setting an example for others. I want to remind them they have the choice to be a good influence or a bad one. They've made their choice this time, but what will they do next time? Remember guys, we are supposed to care about the welfare of birds, and consider how the public views our birding and photography interest. Shouldn't we observe at a distance and encourage others to do the same? Or should we just worry about the shot...?
Now, as has been known to happen, a great bird was waiting to be found elsewhere. Several folks opted to drive to Monterey after the scheduled trip, including car 1, for the Arctic Loon in Monterey. About an hour's drive, provided those who made the effort, to see one of the rarest birds in the Lower 48. With less than a dozen accepted reports in the contiguous states, this species is perhaps nearly as rare as the Ivory Gull. Other bird, including Northern Fulmar were added to the day's list. Not bad at all!
Great Blue Heron
Eurasian Collared Dove
Barn Owl (primary feather)
Western Scrub Jay
Post field trip, several members of class sped down to Monterey Bay to search for the Arctic Loon.
That and a few other birds were easily added to the day's list: