Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Few Days Off to Bird!

Domestic Goose

We got laid over at Tracy, California for a few days and decided to make the most of it with some birding around some Stockton Parks on Monday, Monterey Area on Tuesday, and Wednesday we went to a Stocken Park and Cosumnes River Preserve. The first one we went to was Oak Grove Park. The sun was starting to set but we managed to get some nice shots of some Western-scrub Jays, Domestic Goose, Ruddy Ducks, and Crested Duck. Also saw plenty of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a small group of Double-crested Cormorants. We didn't see much else there.

Ruddy Duck
Then we headed for Buckley Cove Park, but didn't have any cash on us so we couldn't get in. It was only 2.50 and the guard didn't seem to care one way or the other if we got in all he wanted was 2.50. So there is a lesson learned always bring cash! So we headed back to the truck for the night and we had planned on going to Yosemite National Park but hadn't seen much of any kind of reports on so I suggested we go over to the ocean and see if we can see any new birds or ducks, so I did an eBird report and was very pleased to see that we could see up to 13 new birds!

So we got up at 430am and headed for Monterey Bay. After a long 2 hour drive we made it. Once we got to Fisherman’s Wharf I was a little bummed out when it was cloud, but it wasn't long before we got our first lifer! Mew Gull. There was a flock of them along the sandy beach.
Heermann's Gull

We were headed out to the Wharf when we turned around to go check out what the Arctic Loon looked like…the kind of thing we should have been checking out on the drive down! This older gentleman was just getting his gear out of his car and asked us if we saw anything good and we explained we just got there and we chatting with him for a few minutes and he gave us some pointers on where to go to see the sea lions! We headed over to where he had said and could hear the sea lions barking! We were very excited!

Black-crowned Night Heron
California Sea Lion
On the way over to the sea lions we spotted a Heermann’s Gull juvenile (Lifer). In my opinion this is the most beautiful of all the gulls. We snapped some shots and headed over to the California Sea Lions! They were piled everywhere!!

Then we spotted a Whale Watching tour. And thought it might be a good idea to check that out. Only 40 bucks each. So we were going to come back there at 930am the tour started at 10am.
Harbor Seal
So since we had an hour to spare we headed over to the pier where there were more sea lions and on the way we saw some Harbor Seals, adult Heermann’s Gull, Brown Pelicans, Pelagic Cormorants, Western Gull, White-crowned Sparrows, and Common Loon. We got out to the pier and saw some Brandt’s Cormorants, Black Turnstone (Lifer), and a Surfbird (Lifer).

After leaving the pier we headed back to the whale watching tour and purchased some tickets! Once on the boat I found out how hard it is to walk on a boat while it’s moving!! (It was my first time out to sea) Other than birds we saw a Blue Whale, Sea Otter, and a pod of 300 Long-beaked Common Dolphins.

While we were out on the boat we saw Common Murre, Rhinocerous Auklet, Cassin’s Auklet, Northern Fulmar, and Arctic Loon! Since we were on a boat we didn't get so great of pictures, but they were good enough for identification! Maybe we will have better luck next time!

Western Gull

After we got back from our first pelagic trip we went out to eat and then headed to another park and saw some Black Oystercatchers (Lifer)!  Then we headed farther down highway 1 to Phieffer Big Sur State Park. We walked the mile uphill to the falls and back down again, it was getting a little dark, so we didn't stay long.
That was our day at the bay! Hope you enjoyed our pictures and my writings.

Monterey Bay

Our next blog will be about Wednesday were we went to Buckley Cove Park and Cosumnes River Preserve. Stay tuned!!!

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