Beach birding Aug. 1

Florence Sanchez

I returned to Coal Oil Point early this morning for another check on small shorebirds.  The various dune overflow ponds below the Isla Vista bluffs are still present but for the most part, small shorebirds were on the beach and I didn't see as many of them as I did on Friday.  Most of the Semi-palmated Plovers were easst of Coal Oil Point, while Sanderlings were more widely distributed, as were Black-bellied Plovers.  Large shorebirds were mostly Long-billed Curlews.  I found only one each of Whimbrel and Marbled Godwit (our friend "Sideways") and no Willets there today.  Also just a few Least Sandpipers around and no Western Sandpipers on the beach (though there were still six on the slough mudflat near the half bridge).

I then moved on to the Harbor Breakwater, where I found no less than 3 Wandering Tattlers at the junction of the Breakwater and the Yacht Club Beach.  They were all adult birds just starting to lose their breeding plumage.  Other birds with them were a few Long-billed Curlews and 1 Whimbrel.  Another good find for the day was a flock of about 19 Elegant Terns working the area near the breakwater--the first I've seen in SB county this summer.  There were no unusual gulls in the flock on the sandspit--just the usual Western, Heerman's, and California (4) Gulls.

After that, I checked various spots all along the coast from SB to Ventura and back without turning up anything unexpected.  Our muggy weather is now supposed to leave us for a few days.  However, things might get interesting this weekend, depending on the track the remnants of Hurricane Freddy will take.

Florence Sanchez

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