another sneak 'preview to week 6' at Piedras Blancas


Hi Brad --

Thanks for checking in. Nice to hear from you. Yes, I'm on the
'slocobirding' list so am getting all the current postings. I'm only sorry I
didn't join up last year.

Just when I thought Sunday's loon-brant-scoter flight was all but cleared out
based on what I saw (or didn't see this morning, Mo 4/17) as I posted the
week 5 summary, all hell broke loose again in the afternoon with another
40-50,000 Pacific Loons between 1400-1800hrs, ~15,000 Brant, and ~20,000 Surf
Scoters. Some 10-15,000 settled along the upwelling / convergence line south
of the 'point' mid-afternoon to feed and rest. At 1730hrs, the whole lot got
up like dominos in reverse over the next 10-15 minutes and headed north.
Clicker count totals were running 1000+ per minute for about 10-12 minutes!
Damn! This Low Pressure system was a doozy I think, perfectly slow, and
kicking off a strong persisting southerly flow which resulted in this rather
unusual afternoon loon-brant-scoter batch probably having been blasted out of
the SoCal Bight earlier today. The Low is still out there tonight off S.F.,
winds still southerly and gradually increasing as the Low gets closer despite
the fact that the main bowed out front passed Piedras Blancas long long ago
(0900hrs this morning). I'll be eager to see what tomorrow brings as the
winds I'd think should gradually shift SW to W to eventually NW and maybe
kill such massive flights for a day or two. Who knows; maybe I'll be dead
wrong. --Richard

Richard Rowlett (
NOAA/NMFS Gray Whale Survey
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
San Simeon, California

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what
nobody has thought" --Albert Szent-Gyorgi (1893-1986).

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