Date: 9/30/19 10:10 am From: Lisa Larson <lisafaylarson...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] Pajaro Dunes and Watsonville Slough - yesterday
Yesterday I spent hours at Pajaro Dunes and Watsonville Slough along Boca Road.
There were over a thousand *Sanderlings *with some *Western Sandpipers *in the mix. It was interesting to compare them. The Snderlings looked like pale, big bruisers compared to the Western Sandpipers! There was about 25 Snowy Plovers mostly keeping to themselves.
It was impressive to see those numbers. They were relatively absent during the Monterey Bay Birding Festival. I watched and watched the peeps as they rested, preened, stretched and jockeyed around a bit within the huge group. It was rather like watching an Amoeboid cell, extending and retracting its Pseudopodsand, with the largest group changing shape and smaller groups moved away then came back. Interesting motility!
So, at times, a *Brown Pelican* or* Double-crested Cormorant* would fly over them - quite close - but that didn't bother then in the least! But if a *Turkey Vulture* came too close, the peeps would erupt into the sky and fly off to a different spot down the beach to settle once again.
It was fun.
The usual suspects were in and along the Watsonville Slough along Boca Road. I wonder if it was the same pair of *Ruddy Ducks* that I have seen a couple of times? All other ducks were *Mallards*. *Killdeer *were present, calling in their typical hysterical-sounding vocalizations. There were a couple *Great Blue Heron* and both *Great and Snowy Egrets*. It was fun to watch a trio of Snowy Egrets for a while. One became very aggressive toward another and went on the attack numerous times - as poofed-out as it could be. An *Osprey* and a *Norther Harrier* made appearances as they hunted the area and there was the usual female *American Kestrel*, and one *Red-tailed Hawk*. The mature female *Belted Kingfisher* was on her favorite perch on the wire near the gate, but I didn't see the male.
Of interest were the yellowlegs. *Greater Yellowlegs* were numerous - at least 30 - but there were also a couple of *Lesser Yellowlegs* associating with one group. It was cool to make side-by-side comparisons. There was only one *Marbled Godwit* on the beach, but I counted 23 in one area of the slough. No peeps.
I finally (finally!) saw the *Brant *swimming, bathing and preening on shore near the confluence of the slough and Pajaro River. I had not seen one there since April 2013. I thought maybe I had a county bird, but no. I sure enjoyed watching it at length.