SLOCo Birds 1/22
First let me thank Mike Stiles for all his work setting up the new county
bird listserv and also for creating and maintaining a county birding web
page. Mike, you are making a substantial contribution to this county's
birding community and I appreciate it.
This morning I met Mike and Marlin Harms at Morro Bay State Park on the State
Park Marina spit. We were there because of the nice high tide which gave us
an opportunity to look for the NELSON'S SHRP-TAILED SPARROW found there in
November. Mike had aleady spotted the bird when I arrived and we watched it
skulk in the California sagebrush for quite a while noting all the field
marks. We did note that the bird is not banded, therefore it is not one of
the ones Greg Smith has banded in past years. While there, we also say a
first year ROSS'S GOOSE (Gray in the head), and I noted a couple of other
white geese that flushed and landed out of view. They were probably a couple
of the Snow Geese know to be present on the bay. A calling BLACK SKIMMER
flew by and around the flooded channels occassionally skimming the water. We
last saw it when it landed among a group of shorebirds in the Salicornia. I
counted 12 GREATER YELLOWLEGS in our vicinity which was three more than
tallied on the Christmas Bird Count. Makes me wonder what is the actual
number on the bay.
Karen Clarke <seachest@...>
Friday I went to the Morro Bay Marina (is this type large? I can't seem to
make it smaller) during the plus 6.6 tide at 9:40 AM. I watched the known
area where the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow has been for over an hour. I
didn't see the sparrow until the very end of my watch, and then only for an
instant. The warm color as it flashed by was unmistakeable.
I also saw the Greater Yellowlegs associating with probably 100 American
Avocets and Willets. I counted 17 Greater Yellowlegs in one spot. At Sweet
Springs I saw 8 more. In addition, I counted 18 Great Blue Heron, 14 Great,
and 10 Snowy Egrets. Looking out from the marina, I saw 4 Snow Geese ( 2 of
which appeared to be juveniles with grayish heads). One female or immature
Northern Harrier flew close to deck over the water of the back bay. A flock
of about 60 Long-billed Curlews flew overhead as I waited the arrival of the
When I arrived at Sweet Springs, I saw two aerial battling Red-shouldered
Hawks. One of the birds had a smaller bird (dead I assume) in its talons.
They must have been fighting over possession of the prey. I could see that
the caught bird had a long tail with obvious brown & dark brown or black
barring. It brought to mind a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's Hawk, but, of
course, the bird was much smaller. I'm guessing it was a wren---Bewick's
Wren? I didn't know that Red-shouldered Hawks hunted birds. Maybe the prey
was already dead.
I still didn't find the Ruff at Sweet Springs.