Date: 8/10/17 7:35 pm From: Florence Sanchez <sanchezucsb11...> [sbcobirding] <sbcobirding-noreply...> Subject: [sbcobirding] Harbor Area and Bird Refuge, Friday morning
I walked from Shoreline Park down to the Harbor Sandspit and Back starting a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning. The low tide had turned and was slowly coming i--the fog had already burned off. Ot was a fairly uneventful walk, bird wise.
At the base of the breakwater where it meets the beach in front of the Yacht Club, there were 4 Black Turnstones.Inside the breakwater on the exposed mud was a single Spotted Sandpiper.Only a few shorebirds were present on the Sandspit, which showed signs of a lot of recent wave erosion: 1 Willet showing vestiges of breeding plumage1 Marbled Godwit4 Long-billed Curlews
There was a huge flock or terns on the Sandspit when I arrived, but before I could even set foot on the wooden groin that runs along the breakwater to the end of the spit, the starting taking off in large groups for the open sea. I thought at first something must have spooked htem and kept looking for Peregrine, Jaeger, Dog, or Kayaker, but none of these were around. All I can say based on the calls, most if not all of them were Elegant Terns. Too bad they flew because sometimes in a big flock like this, one can find a rarity.
The only birds that remained on the spit were the usual Brown Pelicans, Western Gulls, Heerman's Gulls, and a few California Gulls.
No ducks or Loons in the harbor; a few Double-cressted Cormorants were on the bait barge, and a single Great Blue Heron stood on the Sandspit breakwater for a while.
I then drove over to the Bird Refuge and checked out the area beyond the furthest viewing platform. I did not have my scope this morning and most of the shorebirds were on the far side of the muddy area. There were about 20 of them, with the greater number appearing to be Least Sandpipers. I also picked out at least 3 Western Sandpipers in the mix. I'm pretty sure I also found the Semi-plamated Sandpiper--its stubby bill is distinctive even at a distance. No Dows or larger shorebirds here this morning except for the usual Black-necked Stilts.
I think this area will continue to turn over in the days ahead and it should continue to be checked regularly.