Date: 9/30/19 10:10 am
From: Lisa Larson <lisafaylarson...>
Subject: [MBBIRDS] Pajaro Dunes and Watsonville Slough - yesterday
Hi Birders,

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.

It is always a pleasure to go out there.

Happy Birding!
-Lisa

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