Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bulletin #124 – Monterey CA birds

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
October 10, 2010

Bulletin #124 – Monterey CA birds

I have already photographed most of the birds in the Monterey CA area on previous trips, but this time I was looking for a specific bird that I had missed earlier and also missed in Alaska in June.

With the help of guide Rick Fournier (web site), I was finally able to find and get a picture of a Surfbird (Aphriza virgata). I have only seen 1 of these birds previously. This 10" shorebird nests on the tundra in Alaska, but winters all along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Mexico. It is found on rocky shores. It is a plump shorebird with yellow legs, a short bill with an orange lower mandible. It is uniformly gray on the back and breast with some spotting on the flanks. Here is a winter plumage adult.

The juvenile has most of the wing feathers edged in white. Also you can see the white rump and tail with a black terminal band. This is very distinctive when the bird flies. 

Another shorebird, that uses rocky coasts, is the Black Turnstone (Arenaria melanocephala). This sandpiper is just slightly smaller at 9.25". This bird is a winter adult. 

This one is a juvenile. He has some brownish color on his wings and more white on the face.   

These birds were all feeding together. In the group as well was this Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). This 17" brownish sandpiper has a long downcurved, bicolored bill. The head is striped on top. This was my closest approach to this bird. He was only about 15 feet away. 

On the beach at Carmel River mouth, there is usually a large flock of gulls. There are 4 species in this flock - Western, California, Ring-billed and Heerman's. It was interesting to me that the gulls seemed to group together by species.

When a person would walk toward the group, there was a massive lift off.

I was able to get a few photos of gulls on the wing. Here is an adult non-breeding California Gull (Larus californicus) It is IDed by the gray-green legs and black and red spots on the yellow bill.

Here is a first winter California Gull.  

Here is a juvenile Western Gull (Laru occidentalis). Look at the intricate feather pattern with all the feathers edged in white. He is IDed by size, pink legs and all dark bill. 

This California Gull has a large oil spot on his belly. This was taken at the same beach, not in the Gulf of Mexico where we had the big BP oil well blow-out this summer. In fact, if you look closely at the gulls in flight above, you can see this bird in the left side of the photo. 

I found a new butterfly outside a restaurant in Big Sur. This is a California Sister (Adelpha californica). 

Lastly, just for fun, I am showing some cars. At the Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur, where we had lunch one day, the parking lot had several Ford Cobra autos. They all had Texas license plates and stickers saying that they were in the Texas Cobra Club.

The Ford AC Cobra was a 2 seater race car built in the mid-late 60's. The genuine cars are worth over $1million now, so they have built replica kit cars of this model. The man in the photo restores cars, and told me that they were all probably kit cars. There were 7 of them in the parking lot. I photographed them all from various positions that I could. So, if classic cars interests you, click on the link and scroll through.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald
photos copyright 2010 David McDonald

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