Date: 12/24/17 3:34 pm From: Don Roberson <creagrus...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] Lousiana Waterthrush at Pfeiffer Big Sur SP, Monterey Co.
A Louisiana Waterthrush found mid-day yesterday by visitor David Dovalina at Pfeiffer Big Sur SP in Monterey County continued today throughout the morning. Yesterday it was seen perhaps 50m downstream of the Hwy 1 bridge over the Big Sur River. Today it was always upstream of the Hwy 1 bridge but it continued to forage along the north bank of the Big Sur River and continued to work downstream during the morning; it could be west of the Hwy 1 bridge by the afternoon.
There is a largeish parking area at the north end of the Highway 1 bridge over the Big Sur River on the west side of the road. There is a paved parking lot for the Big Sur Inn directly across the road on the east side of Hwy 1 -- that lot can be reached by entering the Pfeiffer Big Sur entrance road but taking the first right into the Big Sur Inn parking lot (if you continue straight you get to the entrance gate to the State Park and have to pay to get into the park).
You want to be on the south side of the Big Sur River to look for the waterthrush. There are two access points. First, you can walk south on walkways adjacent to Highway 1 to the south end of the bridge, and then go under the bridge on a very steep rough trail. Second, and much easier, is to walk across Hwy 1 on the north side to the parking lot of Big Sur Inn and find the pedestrian bridge across the Big Sur River at the east side of Big Sur Inn. You can easily see this pedestrian bridge from the Hwy 1 bridge. Walk to the south side of river, bear left and loop on wide dirt road until you reach a Nature Center on the south side of the river. Just before (west of) the Nature Center there is a nice hiking trail labeled "Buzzards Roost Trail." Follow it down to the Big Sur River until you are on the south bank of the river, on the trail. Today the waterthrush was first seen upstream of this spot, where there is a series of cement blocks for a low water access across the river (but the river is higher now) that are basically behind the Nature Center. When we were there the waterthrush was downstream right where Buzzards Roost Trail reached the south bank of the river. The trail continues west under the south end of the Pedestrian Bridge and then farther west under the south end of Highway 1 and on towards the west. By late morning the waterthrush was still on the north bank of the river but halfway between the Pedestrian Bridge and Hwy 1.
[All this discussion is about the Pedestrian Bridge that goes from Big Sur Lodge to near the Nature Center. There is yet a second Pedestrian Bridge farther upstream (east) and then a third bridge for cars going into the campground. Although you could pay money and drive to the Campground and the Nature Center, there is little point in doing so, because there is no parking there.]
Although the waterthrush is foraging actively along the north bank of the river (at least while we were there) it can be hard to spot among the many rocks and fallen leaves. Watch for movement. The waterthrush spends a lot of time flipping dead leaves, and it is bobbing in a up-down-circling motion almost all the time. We did see it fly and disappear twice. Once it flew up into a dense tree on the north side and totally disappeared. You would not find it if perched. But within 15 minutes it had flown a bit downstream, giving a loud, scratchy, 'chiz-zit' call and disappeared into some tangles. [Other heard a different single-note call as well]. Later it reappeared at river's edge between the Pedestrian bridge and Hwy 1. Later it flew again downstream towards Highway 1.
The bird seems content and calm, and when along the north bank of the river it was foraging actively. Apparently others saw it fly to the south side of the river as well. Please do not disturb this interesting bird. Please do not walk in the river. Please do not walk on the north bank where there is no trail. If undisturbed, it might winter.
Early in the morning others had a Dipper and Varied Thrush in the vicinity; we had Golden-crowned Kinglets along Buzzards Roost Trail just west of Hwy 1 bridge.