Fort Funston Quail, Sea Otter and other sightings

Alan Hopkins <ash@...>

On Saturday June 15, I visited Fort Funston to check the quail. I was I
got to the restoration/quail area at about 9 and it took over a hour to
see or hear any quail. I was about to give up when a male quail ran from
the valley on the west side of the path to the low-growing acacia on the
southeast side of the path. Hidden inside the acacias he started giving
the single �Caw� calls. At that point I re-traced my path along the
equestrian path to a good vantage point near the Sunset Grove. After
some more time the male appeared, and then shortly there after the lame
female appeared. The birds fed in the area by the black plastic for some
time and then went back to the brush and out of sight. As I was walking
back I heard the, or a, male calling from a different area somewhere
along the ridge near the lone pruned cypress, but I never saw the bird.

Last year I spotted the male Fort Funston quail with chicks on June 20.
At that time the chicks could just make short flights, which would mean
they were about ten days old. It is interesting that the chicks were
being led by the male, this is usually the female's task. Last year I
never saw a female quail at FF. I wonder if the lame female could have
produced last years chicks? This would explain why the chicks were
being led by the male. If this were true, it would be an incredible
story of survival. I was amazed that she lasted a week!

Other Fort Funston sightings:

There was a lone Sea Otter due west of the Bank Swallow Parking lot.
Large numbers of Common Murres were flying south. There were Pigeon
Guillemot both flying south an feeding off shore, and there were
lingering Pacific Loons, Western and Clark's Grebes and Surf Scoters.

The Bank Swallows were zipping about. There are at least three male
Bewick's Wrens singing on territory. There are high numbers of
White-crowned Sparrows and Cowbirds.

When visiting Fort Funston I have discovered that it is much more
pleasant to park along the Great Highway just to the south of the closed
Bank Swallow Parking lot and walk in from the north. If you walk south
along the Great Highway there is an entrance to FF that allows you to
access the trail without going down to the beach. From the trail there
is good seabird scoping, the wildflowers are wonderful, and there are
far fewer dogs to contend with.