End-of-year Sea watch, SF, 12/31/13

Paul Saraceni

This morning, Hugh Cotter, Linda Swanson, and I enjoyed an excellent sea watch from the south-most parking lot of the Great Highway, 7:00-11:15 AM.  The combination of light winds that went west overnight, glassy ocean surface, light overcast, and visibility beyond the horizon, and a nice variety of species added up to great results. In years of sea-watching in SF, neither Hugh nor I have ever come close in a single sea watch to the number of murrelets we observed this morning.  Other good species for SF as well, as set forth below:

BRANT 6 (1 flock flying N)
Greater Scaup 3 m. (2 on the water, 1 flying S)
HARLEQUIN DUCK 1 f. (flying S @ 10:45 AM; PS, only)
Surf Scoter 260+
White-winged Scoter 11
Black Scoter 25 (17 m., 8 f.)
Red-thr. Loon 700+
Pacific Loon 1
Common Loon 6
Horned Grebe 4 (on the ocean)
RED-NECKED GREBE 2 (@ 10:05 AM we picked-up on 1 flying S that landed next to another of the same species) 
Eared Grebe 1 (flying S)
NORTHERN FULMAR 1 (flying S @ 10:35 AM; only half-way out) 
Brown Pelican 13
Common Murre 150+
MARBLED MURRELET 54 (!! -- most flying N in pairs; 15-20 observed on the glassy water)
ANCIENT MURRELET 6 (flying N in pairs + 2 probable Ancients seen briefly on the water)
RHINOCEROS AUKLET 2 (1 flying S by HC; 1 flying N w/Com. Murres by PS)
Heermann's Gull 6 (2 ad., 4 juv.)

Harbor Porpoise 2

Good birding in the New Year.

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

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