Sutro Flyby Y-b Loon, Etc.

Brian Fitch

I love days like this when things pop out all over...

I almost ignored the ibis as it flew by at an angle which hid its leg extension, since there are so many cormorants at the lake.  But it circled back, showing some serious leg, and landed to my surprise among the mallards, coots, and gulls at the northwest corner of the concrete bridge at South Lake Merced.  I left it shortly after my second message, and after getting some decent photos with the new camera I'm still learning to use.  The VG Canal was empty of migrants, and four basic warbler species were in the penguin trees at the east end.

With the predicted winds, I headed up to Sutro for a later than usual seawatch, hoping for some small version of what happened last weekend in Monterey.  But the winds stayed offshore, with many whitecaps just a quarter mile out.  And no pelagics, with the possible exception of something that looked like a flying away Buller's Shearwater, but it was too distant and brief a sighting.

The highlight was a southbound, alternate-plumaged Yellow-billed Loon, a ways out, yet close enough to see the bright whitish-yellow bill contrasting with the black head.  This is my second encounter in SF in 23 years, adding to a personal theme I have going this fall (Prairie F, Goshawk, Ibis).  Still no city lifer yet this year...

Most of the other unusual species were northbound, including an Ancient Murrelet still in alternate (black throat), two Bonaparte's Gulls, and multiple flocks of Greater Scaup, groups of 20, 35, 50, 25, and a singleton.  The flock of 50 had two Northern Pintail trailing, but the scaup circled back a short time later without the pintail.  There were a few Parasitic Jaegers chasing the few Elegant Terns.

One Humpback was doing partial breeches and diagonal lunging when I arrived around 9:45, but it quickly moved out to sea so I could focus on the birds.

Yesterday, I found my FOY Varied Thrush in the East Wash, but only a few other regular migrants were present there.  Fort Scott still had a Willow Flycatcher and Chipping Sparrow, in the same places as last Wednesday.
Brian Fitch

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