Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Couple Good Birds

On Sunday afternoon I was feeling pretty good about finding that Golden-crowned Kinglet - but suddenly bird greed set in again as soon as I read a post on the Orange County listserv about a Plumbeous Vireo along the Santa Ana River. Plumbeous Vireo isn't exactly a rare bird in Orange County - several show up in all the counties of southern California every fall/winter. Still, I hadn't seen one in California, let alone Orange County yet, so I was anxious to see it.

Turns out the next morning I was getting my flu shot at a medical center just a few miles from the vireo spot. After I received my shot, we drove to the vireo spot, parked, and started walking down the bike trail to where the vireo had been reported. It didn't take long to find the Plumbeous Vireo as it foraged in a short pine tree right next to the path. Apparently it has wintered here the past two years.

On Tuesday, another good bird showed up - a Long-tailed Duck (Oldsquaw to older folk) at Bolsa Chica. Long-tailed Duck is not recorded every year in Orange County. Today I managed to talk my mom into taking me to see it after getting a couple cavities filled at the dentist.

I'll admit it - this isn't the bird at Bolsa Chica! I photographed this Long-tailed Duck at Sunshine Point, Macomb County, Michigan, last December. Today's bird was backlit, rather distant, and diving constantly, so I didn't even attempt for a photo.

There is always something of interest at Bolsa Chica. The footbridge area was productive, with Eared and Horned Grebes, Lesser Scaup, Brown Pelican, and Surf Scoter all fishing at very close range. The pelicans were particularly bold, diving within a couple feet of the boardwalk. We walked out toward the tide gates, looking for the Long-tailed Duck. We spent quite a bit of time sifting through the assorted diving ducks and grebes searching for the Long-tail before we finally saw it. We then turned around and headed back to the parking lot. I was scoping out some shorebirds near the first overlook when my mom asked "Hey Neil, what's that bird with the yellow feet on top of that bush?" I looked, and there was a Merlin atop the bush!

The Merlin would sit on the bush for several minutes, then fly out and engage in aerial acrobatics, often flying low over the marsh. I think it was trying to flush sparrows or shorebirds out the of the marsh. A couple times it swooped very close to us, giving excellent looks. I was more thrilled to see the Merlin than the Long-tailed Duck, since Merlins are definitely one of my favorite birds. Unfortunately, its perch was rather distant, so I couldn't get a great shot. Here's a front view:

I also saw one of the resident Reddish Egrets, and lots of shorebirds including Red Knots and Ruddy Turnstones. There's never a lack of good birds at Bolsa Chica!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Weekend birding

Yesterday morning I attended Sea & Sage Audubon's annual Pancake Breakfast at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a fun morning - there were many friendly birders there, delicious food, and of course lots of birds. The front ponds held quite a few shorebirds, included a single Dunlin, two Black-bellied Plovers, Long-billed Dowitchers, and more. I was excited to see a very nice male Common Ground-Dove with a flock of Mourning Doves - a county bird. A few Bonaparte's Gulls flew over - a long awaited new state and county bird. A female Northern Harrier put on a nice show by flying around and then landing on the edge of one of the ponds.

Pond C was filled with ducks and grebes. Northern Shovelers, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, and Ruddy Duck were represented in good numbers. Here's a shot of a mixed flock of Cinnamon Teal and Northern Shovelers. You gotta love those male Cinnamon Teal!

The back ponds were productive as well. There were many American White Pelicans around, along with more ducks. I heard a Virginia Rail deep in the cattails at one point - another state/county bird for me, pitifully. We finally dragged ourselves away after eleven A.M. and headed home.

This afternoon my dad and I birded Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley for a couple hours, a place I'd never been before. The lower lake was filled with coots, grebes, American Wigeon, Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Gadwall, and more. I heard and tracked down a calling Golden-crowned Kinglet nearby in a cluster of tall pine trees. A decent bird for the lowlands of southern California, and yet another state/county bird for me. The rest of the park was pretty quiet but I did get super looks at some Townsend's Warblers by the upper lake.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Chestnut-sided Warbler!

This morning I found a Chestnut-sided Warbler in my neighborhood in Orange around 8:00 a.m. I was able to get great looks at it as it foraged low in an exotic tree, sticking around for quite a bit. I managed to get some horrible pictures of it that will do for documenting it.

Though the photos don't show the field marks too well, here are some that I noticed:

-lime green back, crown, and rump
-gray face and underparts
-white eye ring
-rather short, heavy bill
-broad yellowish-white wing bars
-greenish wash on vent
-cocked tail


I found it again briefly around 12:30 p.m. nearby. If you're interested in chasing it, please contact me privately and I'll give you more details and directions.

On Monday I found some interesting birds around the lower lake of the neighborhood, namely American Pipit, American Wigeon, and Green-winged Teal. I was excited to find the wigeons right in the neighborhood - what cool birds! Here's a shot of the male (there were two females and one male).

The Green-winged Teal was a female. It's amazing how small it looked compared to the resident feral Mallards! It was quite skittish as well. I'm happy at how these two photos came out, since high winds made digiscoping a challenge.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Ventura County 10/20-21


I went on a camping trip this weekend with the Junior Naturalists from Sea & Sage Audubon. We camped at McGrath State Beach, which is between Ventura and Oxnard. Our first stop was Ventura Harbor, a beautiful spot with a nice beach and several jetties. Some of the first birds we saw were a pair of beautiful Black Oystercatchers, which were life birds for several members of the group. I was able to creep over the rocks and get this digiscoped shot.

This Whimbrel was also very cooperative. It was too close to squeeze the whole bird in the photo!

Surfbirds were also very common around the rocky jetties. Unfortunately, most were distant, but this one cooperated at close range. Not the best photo, but a very neat bird!

We next birded a series of sewage ponds right next to the harbor. They were filled with ducks, coots, and grebes. We also briefly heard a Sora, and saw lots of herons. Trevor and I managed to catch this tiny lizard which I believe is a young Western Fence Lizard.

After eating a tailgate lunch at the sewage ponds, we headed to the campground to set up camp. McGrath State Beach is located right at the mouth of the Santa Clara River, which had been dammed up by a sandbar at its mouth. As a result, the campground was mostly flooded, with vast shallow puddles. These puddles attracted lots of birds - ducks, grebes, coots, shorebirds, and more. By wading through one of the [nasty] puddles, I managed to get close to this White-faced Ibis. I like how the photo captured the iridescence on its upperparts.

There were several Greater Yellowlegs foraging in the various puddles around the campground. Although I find them to normally be fairly wary, this one paid little attention to me as I stalked it.

Killdeer were also present in good numbers. I know - they can be obnoxiously common, but they are still really interesting birds to watch.

Sunday morning was beautiful but windy. The dunes were crawling with pipits and Savannah Sparrows, and a Northern Harrier flew right in front of me. After a breakfast of delicious pancakes, we were ready to start birding again. A large flock of blackbirds were hanging around our campsite, and to our surprise it contained at least two Tricolored Blackbirds. A lifer for everyone, even me! Unfortunately, the flock was moving around a lot and it was very windy so I wasn't able to get any good photos. Singles of Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitcher briefly visited the large pond on the edge of the campsite. After we were all packed up, we briefly checked the harbor, finding little because of the wind. We headed home early because of the wind, arriving back at San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Orange County around noon. There wasn't much active in the heat of the day, but there were a few very tame Long-billed Dowitchers in Pond C. I couldn't get a whole-body shot (they were too close!), so here's a close-up head shot. I love the feather detail!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Birds of the Week

On Tuesday I noticed a different sparrow with all the White-crowned Sparrows under the thistle sock in my backyard. A Savannah Sparrow! It quickly departed, but I found it again foraging in the greenbelt behind my house. It was surprisingly well camouflaged in amongst the dead grass!

Here's another shot of it:

On Wednesday I birded Peters Canyon for a couple hours in the morning. I birded the Lakeview, Willow, and Cactus Point Trails. I found four new Peters Canyon birds - Lesser Scaup, Lesser Yellowlegs, Violet-green Swallow (county bird) and Dark-eyed Junco. Other birds of note included Fox Sparrows (singing), Northern Flickers, Northern Pintails, a single Vaux's Swift, and two Eared Grebes that flew within several feet of my head while I was standing on top of the dam (where it is legal, of course). I never knew grebes could fly that fast!

Yesterday I birded along the Santa Ana River between the Lincoln and Taft Avenue crossings. A Blackburnian Warbler had been found a few days before in a small line of trees and bushes next to the river, along with a Philadelphia Vireo. I dipped on both of them. I did see a Cattle Egret in the riverbed - a pretty decent bird for the county. It was a county bird for me. Here's an awful shot of it in flight - note the dark legs and feet; short, thick, orange bill; and overall stocky appearance.

This morning I was working on schoolwork in my bedroom when suddenly I noticed a bird fluttering around in a large eucalyptus tree right outside. It was acting like a flycatcher, but when I took a closer look I realized it was a woodpecker - a Red-naped Sapsucker! It was definitely a different one than the one that I saw a couple weeks ago in the neighborhood - this one was a full-blown adult male, while the other one was duller, with some white on the throat - maybe a female. Later, I noticed a Black-throated Gray Warbler right outside the window. I really should start a "birds seen from bedroom window" list!

Later, I found a Common Yellowthroat flopping around by the front door of my house - it probably hit a window. I caught it quickly and placed it under a cardboard box in the backyard to keep it safe from predators while it recovered. I checked every half hour. Its eyes were bright and open, and it was looking around, but it seemed disoriented and staggered around. Eventually it hopped/fluttered into some bushes so I think it will make it. Here's a quick shot I took of it in hand - though it may look like I was squeezing it, I was actually gently holding it in what's known as "the bander's grip".

Monday, October 15, 2007

My First Pelagic

The title says it all - I went on my first pelagic trip with Shearwater Journeys on Saturday, out of Monterey Bay. We made the roughly seven hour drive up on Friday. The weather was nasty, with rain and dark clouds. I didn't get to do any serious birding, but I got a lame start to my Kern, San Louis Obispo, and Monterey County lists. There was a flock of tame Brewer's Blackbirds roaming the parking lot at a rest area along Route 46 in San Louis Obispo County - very common birds I realize, but this is my first photograph of this species.

The next morning I awoke early and my dad drove me to Fisherman's Wharf, where the boat departed from. After Debi Shearwater gave a brief orientation, we pulled out of the harbor and were on our way! We couldn't find the Harlequin Ducks than had been around earlier in the week, but we did see lots of Brandt's Cormorants and California Sea Lions on the breakwater, along with a few Black Turnstones. Here's a shot of a friendly Brandt's Cormorant that was right next to the boat. Those turquoise eyes are really neat!

Just after we rounded the breakwater, someone called out a Common Murre sitting on the water. Sure enough, there it was floating on the waves - my first lifer of the day. Here's a highly cropped image of it:

A short time later, we came across a pair of Rhinoceros Auklets bobbing around, occasionally diving. We were able to maneuver quite closely to them, but I didn't get any photos. Once we got a little farther out at sea, things got more and more exciting. The cry of "Buller's [Shearwater]!" came up from the bow. I saw them, but they were very distant. Then some Pink-footed Shearwaters came gliding in right across the bow, only to be followed by a couple Northern Fulmars which put on a great show by flying right in front of the boat. Suddenly, several birders screamed "ALBATROSS!" at the top of their lungs at the same time. Sure enough, a Black-footed Albatross came gliding in, dwarfing the shearwaters. It flew right down one side of the boat, giving excellent looks. The boat flushed a Cassin's Auklet off the water as well. The auklet unfortunately flew straight away from the bow of the boat, and I was one of the few who managed to get on the bird. Here's a shot of a small flock of Pink-footed Shearwaters sitting on the water.

Several Pomerine Jaegers also appeared, including one beautiful light-phase adult with full tail spoons. We left the shearwaters and struck out over a relatively birdless expanse of ocean, chasing a large group of dolphins which had been reported several miles away. The leaders quickly spotted the dolphins, along with masses of birds hanging out with them! As we approached the frenzy, a South Polar Skua lumbered by, much to the delight of the birders. There were hundreds of dolphins feeding in the area. We saw two species: Pacific White-sided Dolphin and Northern Right Whale Dolphin. Here's a shot of a group of White-sides surfacing:

There were fewer Right Whale Dolphins, but there were still quite a few. What cool animals!

The birds were really flocking around the dolphins. There were lots of shearwaters of the three species I mentioned before, plus two Flesh-footed Shearwaters. Flesh-foots are pretty rare here, and do not show up every fall. I got great looks at them, but alas no photos. I was happy to see some small flocks of Red Phalaropes - I'm still amazed that such small birds can thrive over twenty miles out at sea! A Sabine's Gull also made a brief and distant appearance. There were lots of Northern Fulmars around as well, with a few very pale individuals and a few very dark individuals. However, most were a medium gray color. Here's a shot of one taking off the water, probably my favorite shot of the day.

I could have stayed out on the sea forever looking for seabirds, but unfortunately we had to turn back and return to land in mind-afternoon. I was very happy with the trip, since I got thirteen lifers: Black-footed Albatross, Northern Fulmar, Pink-footed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Buller's Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Red Phalarope, South Polar Skua, Pomarine Jaeger, Sabine's Gull, Common Murre, Cassin's Auklet and Rhinoceros Auklet. I was disappointed about the lack of storm-petrels, but it's getting a tad late in the season for them. I'll have to go back earlier in the fall next year and see them!

On Sunday we drove back down to Orange County. We took Pacific Coast Highway south to Morro Bay, which was very scenic. During a brief stop at a gas station in Big Sur I found my first Chesnut-backed Chickadees, which I was very happy about! We also stopped at a beach in San Luis Obispo County to see Elephant Seals hauled out on the beach. Look at that cute face!

We had lunch at Santa Margarita Lake Park in San Louis Obispo County with my mom's cousin Jan Surbey, who is a serious birder and the president of the Morro Bay Audubon Society. I found my first Golden-crowned Sparrows of the fall there, along with lots of Clark's Grebes, and singles of Northern Pintail and Gadwall. On the way out, along Pozo Road, I spotted a small flock of about five Yellow-billed Magpies in flight near the road. We stopped, and I quickly located several other calling individuals in the trees right next to the road. My fifteenth and final lifer of the trip! A great way to end an excellent trip.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Triple digits for Peters Canyon and more

This morning I birded Peters Canyon for a couple hours. I found six new Peters Canyon birds: Northern Flicker, Northern Pintail, Fox Sparrow, American Robin, Northern Harrier, and Western Meadowlark. These pushed my Peters Canyon list up to 105. The lake had lots of coots but relatively fewer ducks than usual, but the rest of the park was very active - White-crowned Sparrows and Yellow-rumped Warblers were everywhere! I was thrilled to hear the Fox Sparrows singing - what a beautiful sound. I believe they were of the "Thick-billed" subspecies, because of their heavy bills and towhee-like "chink" call notes.

This afternoon I couldn't resist doing some more digiscoping around the neighborhood. I spotted a Cinnamon Teal at the lower lake, completely dwarfed by the feral ducks it was hanging out with. Another new neighborhood bird.

This lovely female Western Bluebird also posed for photographs. Though they may not be as gaudy as the males, they certainly have a subtle beauty with those soft brown and pale blue hues.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Hordes of Winter


Over the past few days, there have been lots of birds around the neighborhood, particularly at the end of my street! There's a small drainage ditch that almost always has a small stream running through it, and it draws the birds like a magnet. The photo above shows a bunch of House Finches and a couple Western Bluebirds splashing away. My rough estimate of numbers of the main species in the flock follow: Yellow-rumped Warbler (100+), House Finch (40+), Western Bluebird (20+), Lesser Goldfinch (12), Chipping Sparrow (5).

Early this afternoon, while on a quick walk, I noticed a chunky brown bird wandering around on the grass near the arena at the end of my street. My first impression was that it was a Mourning Dove, but something didn't fit (I wasn't carrying binoculars). Suddenly, it turned around - and its breast glowed yellow. A Western Meadowlark! I sprinted home, grabbed my scope, and returned to find it still there.

Meadowlarks are some of my favorite birds (though, if you know me well, I'll say that of just about any bird), so I was really excited to see one practically right in my backyard. To my amazement, the bird walked even closer (they look so goofy when they walk) and took a drink out the ditch, and then came even closer. Here's a shot concealing the brilliantly colored breast. It shows how well camouflaged they really are. Also, notice all the little details on the wing and mantle feathers, that you wouldn't notice with distant looks or on a worn bird (this bird is very fresh).

Here's one more shot, showing that classic meadowlark over-the-shoulder pose:

Later this afternoon, I spent some time photographing all the birds. I'm fascinated by the Yellow-rumped Warblers' behavior - they hop around on the ground out in the open like sparrows - I've never seen warblers do this before! I couldn't get any good shots of them, however. While I was trying to photograph some bluebirds bathing in the ditch, a small brownish bird with white outer tail feathers whipped right by me. It landed in a nearby tree, but I only got a milli-second long view before a screaming young girl scared it away. I knew that it was almost certainly a Vesper Sparrow, but I couldn't eliminate a House Finch with a couple white tail feathers from the view I got. I spent about fifteen minutes trying to relocate it, but unsuccessfully. Then, I turned around, and there was a beautiful Vesper Sparrow pecking around on the sidewalk almost exactly where I had been standing when I first saw it! Vesper Sparrow isn't too common in southern California, and out of habitat, according to the San Diego County Bird Atlas.

Lastly, here's a shot of a lovely male Western Bluebird on the arena fence. There were lots (20+) Western Bluebirds around today!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Why didn't I have my camera?!

I felt a bit bored and restless this afternoon, so I did a short bike ride/birding jaunt through parts of the neighborhood. There was quite a bit of activity around the stables, including the continuing Mountain Chickadee. I've been surprised at how long it has stuck around in such a small area; indeed, this afternoon I saw it only about thirty feet from where I first saw it. It really makes me wonder if perhaps it summered or even bred nearby - they have been known to nest in the lowlands. I've gotten a grand total of one picture of it, and it is an extremely poor one at that - I'm posting it here anyways. As bad as the photo is, it isn't quite bad enough for the bird to pass as an Ivory-billed Woodpecker. :-D

I was in for a big surprise a few minutes later. I was sorting through an assorted flock of Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers, Bushtits, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and more near the stables, when suddenly I noticed a mostly black and white bird peering around a tree trunk at me. "Hmm... a woodpecker... Nuttall's?" I thought for a split second until it hitched around onto my side of the tree trunk. A RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER! It hung out for a few minutes just a dozen feet away in great light - and I didn't have my camera. I did get really amazing looks at it though - I even saw the red on its nape! Another lifer for me. I'm going to have to go back in the morning to see if it hangs around its photo to be taken - maybe I can improve on my chickadee picture as well!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Weekend birding (so far...)

Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon birding at Irvine Regional Park. I've discovered a great spot for finding birds - a fountain near Group Area #2. It is apparently part of tourist-trap railroad there. Anyways, the birds love it. Yesterday I spent about an hour sitting quietly nearby, and I was treated to close views of a parade of songbirds coming to drink and bathe. At first, things were quiet - then a few Yellow-rumped Warblers showed up, followed by a couple Orange-crowned Warblers and a Black-throated Gray Warbler. Pacific-slope Flycatchers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Lesser Goldfinches, California Towhees, and a Bewick's Wren were some of the other birds that visited the fountain. Here's a shot of fountain - I know, it looks horrendously dirty - it probably rarely gets cleaned.

Here's a shot of the Black-throated Gray Warbler than came in for a bath. I wish the fence hadn't been in the way, but there was nothing I could do about it...

Other birds of interest at IRP included my first lowland Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) of the year, a Willow Flycatcher, and the continuing Barn Owl.

This morning my dad and I birded Huntington Central Park for a few hours, hoping to find some of the good birds reported there recently. The best bird I saw was an Olive-sided Flycatcher, but I also found some Lincoln's Sparrows, lots of Townsend's Warblers, and a Hermit Thrush. I also heard a call note that sounded suspiciously like a Black-throated Blue Warbler in "The Island" area, but I could not place my eyes on the bird, despite chasing it through a very nasty swampy area and taking multiple spider webs in the face. Oh well... I really wish I had seen it though - if I had heard it in Michigan I would have called it a Black-throated Blue Warbler without batting an eyelash!

We also briefly birded at Bolsa Chica, first stopping at the back part visible from Harriet Wieder Park. The main lagoon was flooded and filled with dabbling ducks - American Wigeon, Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, etc. I then noticed a huge flock of shorebirds in the far corner of the lagoon. A short walk brought us within a reasonable distance of the birds. One of the first birds I laid on was this gorgeous juvenile Pacific Golden-Plover (with Black-bellied Plovers for a nice comparison).

Other shorebirds in the flock included Red Knot, Lesser Yellowlegs, Short-billed Dowitcher, Dunlin, and Western Sandpiper. It was really amazing how densely packed the Western Sandpipers were - they were practically standing shoulder to should. Here's a small part of the flock, showing Western Sandpipers and Black-bellied Plovers, as well as a few Red Knots and Dunlin.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cassin's Vireo - a lifer!

This morning I birded the neighborhood for about an hour, inspired by all the reports of eastern vagrant warblers elsewhere. I didn't find any, needless to say, and hardly any warblers at all; but I did get excellent looks at my first Cassin's Vireo along the Yellowthroat Creek. It had a pale yellow wash on its flanks, and its upperparts were grayish-olive with very little contrast. Apparently, Cassin's Vireo is relatively sparse and uncommon in fall migration in southern California, so I was happy to find it. I didn't get any photos of it, since it was foraging up high in the eucalyptus trees. I also found a couple Ruby-crowned Kinglets, new for the neighborhood. Those two new species push the neighborhood list up to eighty-seven!

Monday, October 1, 2007

White-tailed Kite video

Here's a short video that I took today at Bolsa Chica of a hovering White-tailed Kite. It spent several minutes on end hovering, so I was able to digiscope some shots of it and also get this video, which I took through the scope. After several minutes of hovering, it suddenly swooped down and nabbed a small rodent! It carried the prey to a nearby perch, where it quickly gobbled it down - I'll spare you from the gory details. Enjoy!

I become a guide for the day...

I spent most of the day today birding with David Hollie, a young birder from northern Georgia visiting southern California. We birded Peters Canyon and Irvine Regional Parks, Huntington Central Park (briefly), Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, Crescent Bay Park, and Treasure Island Park. I managed to find David nineteen lifers.

We started at Peters Canyon, finding mostly the usual birds for me, but seven lifers for David - California Towhee, Allen's Hummingbird, Wrentit, California Thrasher, California Gnatcatcher, Cactus Wren, and Cassin's Kingbird. We were in a hurry, so I didn't thoroughly scan the lake, but there were lots (15+) Ring-necked Ducks there. We moved on to Irvine Regional Park, quickly finding David's first Oak Titmice and Hutton's Vireos. We birded there for only about half an hour in a small area, but the trees were loaded with warblers. The Barn Owl remained in his hollow sycamore.

We headed for the coast after finishing up at Irvine Regional Park, hitting Huntington Central Park quickly on the way in hopes of finding the Painted Redstart that had been reported last week. We dipped on it, but that's what I had been expecting. We moved on to Bolsa Chica, finding it almost completely flooded because it was high tide. Nevertheless, we came through and found three more lifers for David - Snowy Plover, Elegant Tern, and Western Gull. There were several Eared Grebes hanging out within feet of the boardwalk, and we were able to see them swimming underwater chasing fish through the clear water - really very fascinating.

We also photographed a very cooperative Great Egret through the fence of the tern colony. The bird realized that there was a barrier between us, so it casually stood there just feet away. I poked my camera lens through the fence and got some decent head shots.

Our next destination was Laguna Beach, some fifteen miles down the coast. At Crescent Bay Park, I was shocked to find a flock of eighteen Black Oystercatchers resting on the beach! While common in northern California, Black Oystercatcher is rather uncommon in southern California. There were lots of other interesting birds here, including Wandering Tattler, Black Turnstone, Heerman's Gull, Whimbrel, and Brandt's Comorant. These, along with the oystercatchers, gave David six more lifers; the oystercatchers were lifers for me as well. Here's a shot with eleven Black Oystercatchers visible:

We finished up at Treasure Island Park, just a couple miles south of Crescent Bay Park in Laguna Beach. Here, one can descend to the beach on several staircases. We managed to find five Surfbirds here - lifers for both of us. We had to scramble over some rocks and wade through water to see them, but we ended up getting killer views. An excellent way to wrap up a great day. I recorded 107 species for the day - not too bad considering we missed lots of easy birds, for example Western Sandpiper! I had also managed to find almost all of David's target birds.