Friday, February 8, 2013

Moss Landing, Jetty Road

On Thursday February 1, 2013 we traveled to Moss Landing to see what we could see. It had been a while since we checked out the Jetty Road area. We used a Nikon D7000 with the Nikon 500mm f4.0 lens with 1.4 teleconverter for all these shots.

First we saw a pair of these first year Buffleheads close to the road. The adults were too far away to get any kind of useful shot.

Across the road we saw this solitary immature Sandhill Crane feeding at low tide. We understand he has been around for a couple of months.

Another special treat was this Greater Yellowlegs that was very close to the other side of the road. The light was particularly good.

This solitary Black-bellied Plover gave us a good opportunity as well.

Near the Sandhill Crane this Long-billed Curlew was feeding. The light was behind the subject, not the best shot but it records the variety one can see in Moss Landing.


 There were several Willets nearby.

 And some Marbled Godwits.

 And this Snowy Egret was very close - too close for the 500mm lens with the 1.4x teleconverter. This close-up shows his intensity as he is feeding.

And finally we saw this small group of Least Sandpipers.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Black Oystercatcher Feeding a Chick

In August this past summer a Black Oystercatcher pair were incubating three eggs on an exposed rock well above the high tide line. All of the eggs hatched successfully, much to the enjoyment of the Oystercatcher parents and the people watching. The nest was very near shore along the walking path in Pacific Grove, CA where walkers could linger and watch the parents incubating the eggs and feeding the chicks as they became active. Quite unlike other bird species, the Black Oystercatcher chicks walk within a few hours of hatching and within 24 hours are very active in the nest area.

You can refer back to three Blogs from July 2011 that show the nest area and the parents incubating their eggs.

This location was on the beach below the nest rock, where this chick apparently had fallen while exploring the nest rock above. This was the sixth day after the first chick hatched and this was the last one we observed. The fate of the other two is unknown.

We were fortunate to capture this feeding sequence, as one of the parents brought a morsel that had been pried off a nearby rock. The parent offers the morsel, the chick seems to inspect it, then takes it and swallows it immediately - all within a few seconds.

The next day, this one remaining chick was also missing. The parents had been very attentive for the five weeks of incubation and provided well for all the chicks after hatching. Of course, this area has many predators and we expect this one  - and the other two - fell victim to one of the risks of living in a precarious location.

The parents stayed in the area for a few days after the last chick went missing. The first day or so they were calling frequently, perhaps hoping for the chick to reappear.

We wonder if the parents will seek a more protected nesting site in the coming season.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Shore Birds, Monterey Bay, Asilomar Shore

Our weekly Bird Walks continue with a productive day along the Bay in Pacific Grove, California. The Point Pinos Lighthouse is one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses on the California coast. It is always a welcome sight.
These shots are all taken with a Nikon D7000 with a 300mm f/4 lens with a 2.0x teleconverter. Shutter speed is set manually at 1/1000 shooting with the lens wide open at f/8, ISO is variable depending on the available light. We find that this combination does auto-fucus quite well although most references from Nikon and other sources suggest  that focusing is not as fast or reliable. It certainly makes an ideal walk-around combination for documenting the local wildlife. 

Crespi Pond is between the lighthouse and the Bay and we always find Coots in the golf course grass and gulls bathing in the pond.

The shoreline nearby hosts many species. This day was typical as we saw many of the expected birds. There is a constant movement of Brown Pelicans soaring along the shoreline. This first year bird shows the expected lighter coloration.

Working the shoreline are the Willets which are often in small groups and Whimbrels which are usually solitary. 

This day we saw the Ruddy Turnstone that was among a group of Black Turnstones. Here we see a good size comparison between the two species. Wikipedia information on the Ruddy Turnstone can be found here.

We didn't get a good profile shot of the Ruddy Turnstone but this shot shows a bit more detail.

We also saw a grouping of a Surf Bird, a Black Turnstone and a Black-bellied Plover. It was unusual to see all three together.

On the sandy area just above the high tide line we spotted a solitary Western Meadowlark. We got several poses that show the coloration. Although quite common in the western US, this is the first one we have seen along the Monterey Bay Shore. Wikipedia information on the Western Meadowlark can be found here.

The Glaucous-winged Gull is seen far less often along the shore. This example shows the typical "dusty" head coloration that is quite different from the more common Western Gull. Wikipedia information about the Glaucous-winged Gull can be found here.

We often see Great Egrets feeding in the kelp beds offshore but this day we found one feeding right at the waters edge.