Santa Maria River mouth, Sunday August 13

Dave Compton <davcompton@...>

A group of us (Brad Hines, Becky Hoban, Melissa Kelly, Joan Hardie, and I)
were at the Santa Maria River mouth Sunday morning and had lots of
interesting things, though nothing too surprising. The best bird was
probably a RED PHALAROPE moulting into basic plumage. First one I'd seen on
shore in some time. One BAIRD'S SANDPIPER was the first I'd heard of here
this season. There were at least two SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS and one
WHITE-FACED IBIS. Two RUDDY TURNSTONES in alternate plumage were also nice
to see. In all, we had at least 22 shorebird species.

Also, Brad Hines and Becky Hoban saw at least two PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATERS
from the parking lot before the rest of us arrived. They also saw a
PARASITIC JAEGER and a POMARINE JAEGER, I believe. After we finished at the
river mouth and returned to the parking lot, we witnessed a true spectacle.
An estimated 100,000 plus SOOTY SHEARWATERS were offshore. About 2,000 per
minute were moving northward at close range, while tens of thousands sat on
the water from just beyond the surf to as far as we could see. Groups of
PHALAROPES (hard to tell which kind this time of year) moved southward.
Further out, at least two whales were spouting. Brad and I saw what we
thought resembled a Humpbacked Whale at the surface, but we couldn't be
sure. The spouts seemed to be of two different types, one shorter and wider,
the other taller and very concentrated.

[Brad and Becky - sorry to presume to post this for you guy; I waited]

Dave Compton

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