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East Beach and Bird Refuge


Florence Sanchez
 

I checked the Elegant Tern gathering at the Mission Creek outfall this morning and it continues to be impressive.  I'd say there were at least 400 Terns there this morning.  The flocks were very nervous for no obvious reason and kept taking to the air, circling and calling, before settling back down for a few minutes.  With the Terns were 19 Black Skimmers and a few shorebirds:  16 Willets and 1 Whimbrel.

At the Bird Refuge, I walked out to the third platform.  There is a mud patch out there that had a few shorebirds on it along with the resting Mallards.  They included 2 Black-necked Stilts, 2 Spotted Sandpipers (still spotty), 1 Least Sandpiper, and 1 Dowitcher that I believe was likely a Long-billed.  (I  didn't take my scope out there or I would be more sure; however, the red on the underparts appeared to include the under-tail area and there was faint vertical barring on the sides and flanks.  When it flew, it gave out a single "Keet" call.

The surprise bird I found there was a female Cinnamon Teal.  I first saw it in flight showing its powder-blue epaulets.
When it landed in fairly close, I could quickly rule out Shoveler because of size--much smaller than the nearby Mallards.  The water was very shallow and it was mostly wading instead of swimming, so I could see the orange-y legs, which ruled out Blue-winged Teal.  When the light caught the face just right, I could get a flash of yellowish eyes.  It seems a bit early for this species, so it was nice to see.

Florence Sanchez



Aaron Kreisberg
 

I think I can provide at least one reason for the skittishness of the flock.

I visited the Mission Creek Outflow yesterday afternoon around 4 PM. The terns, skimmers, and the majority of other birds present were flushed after about ten minutes when a Peregrine Falcon strafed the outflow. The Peregrine flew towards Cabrillo Boulevard and then landed on the beach between the Estuary and the ocean. It was there for about ten minutes, working it's way on sand towards the edge of the Estuary. It eventually took off. All the skimmers and most of the terns remained offshore over the course of my observation. Shorebirds resettled faster and the gulls seemed relatively unperturbed. 

I have an eBird checklist linked below. I got one very inadequate cellphone photo of the Peregrine (left my camera in the truck).


Aaron Kreisberg
Ventura




On Fri, Jul 31, 2020, 2:45 PM Florence Sanchez via groups.io <sanchezucsb11=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
I checked the Elegant Tern gathering at the Mission Creek outfall this morning and it continues to be impressive.  I'd say there were at least 400 Terns there this morning.  The flocks were very nervous for no obvious reason and kept taking to the air, circling and calling, before settling back down for a few minutes.  With the Terns were 19 Black Skimmers and a few shorebirds:  16 Willets and 1 Whimbrel.

At the Bird Refuge, I walked out to the third platform.  There is a mud patch out there that had a few shorebirds on it along with the resting Mallards.  They included 2 Black-necked Stilts, 2 Spotted Sandpipers (still spotty), 1 Least Sandpiper, and 1 Dowitcher that I believe was likely a Long-billed.  (I  didn't take my scope out there or I would be more sure; however, the red on the underparts appeared to include the under-tail area and there was faint vertical barring on the sides and flanks.  When it flew, it gave out a single "Keet" call.

The surprise bird I found there was a female Cinnamon Teal.  I first saw it in flight showing its powder-blue epaulets.
When it landed in fairly close, I could quickly rule out Shoveler because of size--much smaller than the nearby Mallards.  The water was very shallow and it was mostly wading instead of swimming, so I could see the orange-y legs, which ruled out Blue-winged Teal.  When the light caught the face just right, I could get a flash of yellowish eyes.  It seems a bit early for this species, so it was nice to see.

Florence Sanchez