SF sea watch -- Elegant Terns et al., 5/2/16

Paul Saraceni

I sea-watched this morning (7-9:15 AM) from the closed parking at the south end of the Great Highway. Overcast, steady SW winds, and visibility improving to the horizon as the morning went on.

Most interesting were very high numbers, for this time of year, of ELEGANT TERNS, continuing the trend reported by others this spring along the central coast and up to Bolinas, as noted in another post yesterday by Peter Pyle. When I had to depart this morning there was a large feeding frenzy just off the parking lot (Brandt's Cormorants, Pacific and Red-throated Loons) that attracted 70+ Elegant Terns, along with a few Caspian Terns.

Observations of local interest:

Surf Scoter 50+ (many in various states of molt, including somewhat pale females)
BLACK SCOTER 2 m./1 f. (on the ocean; getting late)
W. Grebe 200+
Com. Loon 6
Pacific Loon 80+
Red-thr. Loon 20+
Brown Pelican 40+
Double-cr. Cormorant 20+
Brandt's Cormorant 400+
Pelagic Cormorant 3
Whimbrel 30+
Marbled Godwit 1
Sanderling 300+
BONAPARTE'S GULL 9 (1 group flying N offshore)
HEERMANN'S GULL 2 ad. (together; early)
Glaucous-winged Gull 2 1Ws
FORSTER'S TERN 4 (1 group; unusual at this location in spring)
Caspian Tern 15+
ELEGANT TERN 70-90+ (22 early, followed by 70+ later @ nearshore feeding frenzy)
Com. Murre 6
Bank Swallow 10+

Bottlenose Dolphin 2 

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

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