Cliffhouse seawatch this morning

Josiah Clark

Highlights: hundreds of common murres
   Thousands of Brandt’s cormorants. 
  3 wandering tattlers, 2 molting surfbirds, 1 black turnstone, 1 herring gull northbound. 

With the clear weather and consistent westerly breeze for the past few days I made a point to do a seawatch. Typically these are some of the best spring sea watching conditions as large numbers of Pacific loons and other seabirds are heading north, flying into the wind. After decades of birding this time of year that is what I come to expect on days like this on the ocean. 
With the clean ocean air and onshore flow,  visibility out to sea should be at its peak. Historically these have been the best days to see the Farallons or even the tip of Pt Reyes from the city.
     I was surprised to find the ocean remarkably hazy, something I’ve never experienced in these consistently onshore  wind conditions. It was not typical fog nor a marine layer, the air was brownish and it looked almost like it does during fire season.
     As for the pacific loons I had come to look for I did not see even one. I did have two red- throated loons, one flying north one flying south. I ran into David Armstong and we mused about the days when we could expect to find Brandt geese daily, migrating north among the expected thousands of Pacific loons.
    Hopefully other people are seeing all the birds that I am missing this year. Also curious to hear from old timers about their memories about what the ocean invisibility used to be like on westerly days like this.
    Happy spring and keep looking up!
Josiah Clark | Habitat Potential | Consulting Ecologist | 415.317.3978
License #1043929

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