SF sea watch -- Sooty Shearwaters, Red-necked Grebe et al., 5/4/16

Paul Saraceni
 

Sea-watched this morning (7-9 AM) from the closed parking at the south end of the Great Highway, along with Dominik Mosur and Hugh Cotter. Overcast, light SW winds, visibility improving to the horizon as the morning went on.

Dom was there ahead of me for the early shift and had already noted phalaropes (presumed Red-necked) departing from the ocean surface, a big push of Pacific Loons, and the large congregation of Western Grebes (800+) spread out over the ocean surface. There was also a developing "feeding frenzy" of cormorants and loons that continued on-and-off during our time there.

Observations of local interest:

BRANT 5 (1 group flying N @ 7:05 AM)
Surf Scoter 40+ 
BLACK SCOTER 3 m./2 f. (on the ocean; getting late)
Red-thr. Loon 40+
Pacific Loon 1200+ (numerous northbound-pulses and many attending the "feeding frenzy")
Common Loon 15
RED-NECKED GREBE 1 (transitioning into alternate plumage; on the ocean on the edge of the "feeding frenzy"; distant photo obtained)
Western Grebe 800+ 
SOOTY SHEARWATER 400+ (multiple northbound pulses out towards the horizon)
Brandt's Cormorant 400+
Double-cr. Cormorant 40+
Pelagic Cormorant 2
Brown Pelican 80+
Killdeer 2 (flying and calling over the median of the Great Highway; may nest nearby)
Willet 1
Whimbrel 60+
Long-billed Curlew 1
Marbled Godwit 1
Sanderling 600+
Dunlin 3 (w/Sanderling flock)
Western Sandpiper 1 (w/Sanderling flock)
Common Murre 30+
Pigeon Guillemot 4
Glaucous-winged Gull 4 1Ws
Caspian Tern 20+
Bank Swallow 12 (several briefly landed on the sand of the back beach)

Also:
California Sea Lion 3
Humpback Whale 1
Bottlenose Dolphin 2 

Paul Saraceni
San Francisco

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