This morning (7/21), Hugh Cotter and I did some sea-watching from the south end of the Great Highway. Winds were brisk from the SW, skies were overcast, and visibility was excellent out to the horizon.
There was a several-minute pulse of 200+ SOOTY SHEARWATERS moving N, quite far out, the first of this species that either of us has observed from the SF shore in 2019 (other than a deceased one found on the beach).
2 PARASITIC JAEGERS flew N together.
Some other typical summer observations from the sea-watch:
Surf Scoter 20+
Common Loon 8 (basic plumage)
Pacific Loon 3 (2 basic, 1 alt.)
Black Oystercatcher 1(fly-by S)
Long-billed Curlew 1 (fly-by S)
Least Sandpiper 1 (fly-by S)
Common Murre 12
Pigeon Guillemot 18
(and a Bewick's Wren singing from across the Great Highway)
We then headed to the seawall @ Pacheco. There was an excellent, noisy gathering of 6-700 ELEGANT TERNS on the wet sand at the surf line. The flock was very flighty and repeatedly flushed (due to gull intrusions and, of course, off-leash dogs, and beachwalkers who needed phone close-ups of the terns), but came back and re-shuffled multiple times, until the repeat charges of an off-leash dog sent them flying further S. We repeatedly scoped the flock from the seawall for the better part of 45 minutes, and located a 1st-summer COMMON TERN that was roosting with the flock before it disappeared.
Shorebirds in the vicinity included 10+ Whimbrel, 20+ Marbled Godwits, 40+ Sanderlings (in colorful summer plumage), and 5 Western Sandpipers.
Yesterday (7/20) evening I walked the beach between Judah-Noriega and observed 40+ Whimbrel, 90+ Sanderlings (including 1 in pale basic plumage), 3 Western Sandpipers, and 10 Snowy Plovers (several of which were banded).