Elegant Tern update

Florence Sanchez

I went down to the Harbor area early this morning to see what might be hanging around and found that the tern flock (at least 200-300 of it) had moved to the sandspit.  They kept coming back to that spot even when disturbed by a pair of walkers and a fisherman.  I watched adults fly in with small fish in their bills and home right in on their own chicks.  With them were 2 Black Skimmers and 1 Caspian Tern.  Other birds on the spit were Brown  Pelicans, Western Gulls, Heerman's Gulls, and a ratty-looking gull that may have been a first-year Glaucous-winged Gull.  More Pelicans and several Double-crested Cormorants were roosting on the dredge, and there were 2 Great Blue Herons fishing on the west side of the breakwater.

I had no shorebirds on the sandspit, but there were several Whimbrels on the beach in front of the yacht club, along with a few Long-billed Curlews.  A pair of Willets kept flying around the breakwater without ever landing.  Three smaller birds flew past the outer edge of the breakwater and I had trouble getting on them before they were gone, but one was definitely a Black Turnstone.  The other two were slightly larger and very dark gray on the back and the breast.  There are two possibilities:  Surfbirds or Wandering Tattlers. It would be early but not out of bounds for each.  Based on my impression of the bills, which appeared to be fairly long and straight, they may have been Tattlers.

I did not see any terns at the Mission Creek outfall while driving by, but they could have been there out of my range of view.

Florence Sanchez

Ron Hirst

Thanks very much for the tern reports. I went 10-11am and saw 200-250 at the outfall and concurrently 250-300 on the sandspit. Also at the outfall were 24 Skimmers, 24 LB Curlews, 6 Willets, 5 Marbled Godwits, 5 Whimbrels, 2 BB Plovers, a Least Sandpiper, 2 Heerman's Gulls, 10 Western Gulls, and 2 Brown Pelicans. Barn Swallows are abundant and feeding young at the nearby creeklet. 
Ron Hirst,  SB