I spent two hours this morning down at the Santa Maria River mouth. The
onshore ocean breeze started just as I arrived, but did not increase to the
intensity that I was feeling on the SLOCO coast the previous two days...but
it was still breezy.
The river mouth is open to the ocean and there is some great habitat,
especially with all the water coming down the river. There are plenty of
nice shallow-water flats with a small number of peeps and other shorebirds.
Highlights were three Semipalmated Sandpipers (all juveniles) and two Baird's
Sandpipers (again all juvs). One of the SeSa was at the very south end where
the sand/mud flats give way to vegetation (there was also one of the
Semipalmated Plover young in this area). The other two SeSa were foraging
together further north towards the big black sand?-filled bags. There were
enough subtle differences between the three individuals to make me feel
comfortable on the numbers.
Along with these birds were 12 Black-bellied Plovers, 30 Semipalmated
Plovers, seven Snowy Plovers, 14 dowitcher sp., 75 Western's, the same
number of Least's, 300 Sanderlings and one Red-necked Phalarope. Very few
terns with only small numbers of Caspian, Forster's and Least.
I stopped by the Santa Maria Wastewater Treatment Plant and had 35 Wilson's
Phalaropes, two Long-billed Dowitchers (my first of the season), 20 Greater
Yellowlegs, two Lesser Yellowlegs, numerous Black-necked Stilts and small
numbers of peeps.