Sunday, January 13, 2013

Quality Birding

Well, at this point, I'm averaging over a bird per mile (117species/110 miles).  If only I could keep this up and end with 3000 species for the year!  My guess is that I'll be right around 1 bird/10 miles in the end if all goes well.  We'll see.
  It's been a great weekend here.  I've been out Friday, Saturday and Sunday looking for birds.  A highlight, however, has to be getting a chance to bird with my friend Dan Irelan who's down from Alaska right now.  Last time we birded together was about 8 years ago, so it was great to spend time finding birds, talk green birding, and just catch up.  We birded Pescadero Marsh on Saturday with Jessica Pollock. It was wild to see a Peregrine trying to fly with a female Common Goldeneye that it got somewhere out over the ocean.  When we first saw it, I couldn't quite rap my head around what was going on.  I just saw a large raptor with webbed feet that could barely fly.  It was struggling to stay in the air, until it finally had to drop the duck.  According to David Sibley, a Common Goldeneye weighs 1.9 lbs while a Peregrine weighs 1.6 lbs.  No wonder.
  That didn't end the show however, as the Peregrine made it to land, a second Peregrine (an immature)came screaming over and attacked it.  The aerial maneuvers were incredible.  Seemed that the young bird won as the other bird u-turned out of there fairly quickly.  The Goldeneye, though still hanging out on the ocean, seemed to be doing just fine.

  I've been dreaming up a trip to Monterey for this three day weekend.  I'm not sure if it's feasible or not.  180 miles round trip.  The Arctic Loon found by the marina sure seems enticing, plus there are a few others that would be fun to see.  If not, maybe I'll head over to the SF Bay and look for a few birds that are much easier over there.

  All in all, it's been nice to cross over the first 100 species and first 100 miles.  I'm adding species quickly, which is expected at the beginning of the year, but that will change soon.  Strangely though, there is pretty minimal duck diversity around Pescadero these days.  I'm sure the blue-winged teal will show up soon.

 Oh yeah... my buddy Tod and I led an animal tracking inservice for my San Mateo Outdoor Education naturalist coworkers down at the beach.  It was sweet to see a Peregrine standing on the beach.  Tod got pictures of the tracks.

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