Today we went with Lisa Myers on a fundraising Big Day trip as part of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory California Fall Challenge.
First stop of the day was Zmudowski State Beach. This out-of-the way approach road, many birds were seen on the drive to the beach. A Virginia Rail responded to a single taped call by flying across the entire pond directly toward us, landing at our feet.
Our sightings for Moss Landing State Beach include birds seen from the Moss Landing Marina as well as Jetty Road. The group was very excited to see six Snowy Plovers roosting quietly on the beach.
At Moonglow Dairy, we drove in through blackbird flocks, scoped nearby ponds for shorebirds, briefly checked edges of Eucalyptus grove. Circling Golden Eagle harassed by Red-tailed Hawks and Pectoral Sandpiper were the highlights of this stop.
Our lunch stop was the Embassay Suites hotel parking lot, where we immediately found the roosting Peregrine Falcon in the 'S' of the hotel logo. We showed it to a variety of hotel guests before moving to the lagoon.
After lunch we drove to Jacks Peak, which was very quiet. We worked hard to get seven woodland species in return for our $20 admission fee, a pricey $3 per bird.
The only target bird for this trip was the California Condor, so we made a beeline for the area south of Andrew Molera, stopping only to pick up Pelagic Cormorant and Black Oystercatcher on the rocky coast below highway one. South of Big Sur Station, Harold said to Lisa, "What's that?" We pulled off to investigate a large perched bird with no feathers on its head. It was clearly a Condor perched on a snag. While watching this bird, other team members found four more Condors circling the ridge line to the south. Great views were had by all.
Last bird of the day was the Great Horned Owl on Dolan Road in near total darkness. Preliminary tally is 108 species in Monterey County. Thanks, Lisa, for an excellent day!Also saw Selasphorus Hummingbird Also saw Western Flycatcher