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Morro Bay Sandspit update


Kevin Zimmer
 

Today (Friday, Oct 16), Susan and I hiked the coastal side of the Morro Bay Sandspit, from the Sandspit Road parking lot north to several hundred meters north of rescue marker #6.  Despite carefully picking through the concentrations of plovers in the strand between rescue marker #5 and our turn-around spot, I did not see any sign of the Common Ringed Plover (and we entered that stretch of beach at high tide), nor did I see the melanistic Western Sandpiper that I first found on 9/23 and then re-found on 10/1.

There were decidedly fewer peeps on the spit today than on Oct 1 (several hundred each of Least and Western sandpipers today, versus a conservative count of 8000+ peeps on 10/1), but numbers of Black-bellied Plovers, Marbled Godwits, Long-billed Curlews and, especially, Willets (400+) were much higher than on any of my previous 3 visits between September 4 and October 1.

I estimated 100+ Snowy Plovers (many of them color-banded) over the course of the hike, and probably 150 Semipalmated Plovers, numbers roughly comparable to what I encountered on 10/1.

Other things of note included an adult Herring Gull (my first of the fall), 2 passing Elegant Terns, a raft of 80+ Surf Scoters just offshore, 1 Peregrine Falcon, and the usual couple of Ospreys.

Kevin Zimmer
Atascadero