Bonaparte's Gulls Like the 70s

Brad Schram

Many hundreds of Bonaparte's Gulls disported themselves off Grover and Pismo beaches this morning.  Although I'd had a flock of at least 200 there a couple weeks ago, the numbers offshore this morning were even more impressive.  Rafts of them on the water between one-half a mile and a mile off the beach numbered in hundreds.  A conservative guesstimate would be a minimum of five hundred Bonaparte's, there could well have been over 1,000.  The spotting scope revealed bonies rafting and flying well beyond the closer rafts.  I haven't seen Bonaparte's Gulls in these numbers in California since the 1970s.

Other than the Bonaparte's, the usual grebes, loons, Brown Pelicans, Brandt's Cormorants, Surf Scoters, and gulls were present in normal proportions.  No alcids, terns, jaegers, or phalaropes were seen.

Pismo Creek mouth continues to hold three Canvasbacks, two males and a female--an uncommon occurrence here.  Only a few American Wigeon. Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, and Shovelers are present as well, although there is a super-abundance of Ruddy Ducks this year.  Three Green-winged Teal in the creek mouth on the third were the first I've seen within five miles of our house this calendar year, which fact gives a fair appreciation of the sparse year for ducks on SLOCO's south coast.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande