Yesterday evening I checked the Santa Cruz Wharf to see how the breeding season was coming along for the seabirds out there. Two PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were carrying food underneath the wharf indicating their nests now have young. Both looked to be carrying some type of groundfish. There were at least nine active WESTERN GULL nests that I could see, most of which had small nestlings. Two PELAGIC CORMORANTS were at the nest under the wharf. Most notable was a BARN SWALLOW nest with two young on a building at the seaward end. I don't think they have nested on the wharf in recent years. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/246504771
Last week while boating back to the harbor, I saw some cormorants attending nests on the cliffs along Steamer Lane. I took a closer look yesterday from West Cliff and saw five BRANDT'S CORMORANT nests with young on the vertical cliff face. They have not nested at this location previously, and nesting on the vertical cliff face is unusual for them in Santa Cruz County. A few times some have nested in such a situation at Wilder Ranch amid a Pelagic Cormorant colony, but otherwise the Brandt's stick to nesting on bluff tops, and offshore rocks and artificial structures along the county's coastline.