Please pardon a somewhat off-topic query, but I couldn't think of who else to ask. I was on the Oceano vehicle beach today and some folks (on horses) said that there is a petition to keep the beach closed to vehicles. I know this is an extreme long shot, but I wanted to investigate. Has anybody heard about this? A web search turned up nothing.
I did see some birds on my trip. Upon entering the dunes by the houses on Strand Way, I saw (and heard!) a flock of 50-60 terns sitting tightly together in the little waves. I have some trouble with tern ID. These looked like Elegant Terns--white forehead with black funky crest; not-very-long, thin, red-orange bill. In flight were pure white above, black at wingtips from below. I couldn't distinguish leg color. Lots of krrrack-krrrack going on.
Farther along towards post 5 was a flock of around 100 peeps, hanging out on the dry sand. I didn't get too close for fear of flushing them. If I'm bad with terns, I'm awful with peeps. Probably a mix of Westerns and Sanderlings. Which peep is light grey on its back? There was a good number of those.
I also came upon a sick cormorant, possibly a Brandt's. It was standing on the dry sand, moving very little. Its wings were droopy and the bird looked oiled. It could walk, but didn't walk far, and walked away from the water. I was able to get within two feet of the bird--it did not flush, but peered at me. I was unable to phone Pac Wildlife because of my cell phone. I alerted a contractor who came by in a truck and said she would notify the rangers. Another beachwalker put a call in to Pac Wildlife. The bird was not there on my return journey.
I forayed out in hopes of seeing the Buff-breasted Sandpiper, but it did not grace me with its presence.