Friday, June 17, 2011

Watch It II

Shaking my wrist to glance at my watch, I was heartbroken to see that I had only five minutes left of seawatching before I had to leave for work. I sighed and reminisced about last summer, when I embarked on road trip after road trip, carefree, birding at will...

Seawatching has been predictable of late--the same suite of species, over and over. But, I don't see Sooty Shearwaters every day, and weekly vigils give me the opportunity to familiarize myself with the regular species. Plus, recently, there have been sporadic sightings of Pigeon Guillemots off San Diego County. With luck, I will duplicate those. Or, a Brown Booby. I'd take one of those, too.

Keeping watching...and wishing...

Newport Pier, Orange, US-CA
Jun 17, 2011 5:54 AM - 7:55 AM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments: Pre-work seawatch at Newport Pier. Nothing outrageous--and nothing different from the previous few weeks--but lots of action, including several dolphin/sea lion/pelican/gull/tern feeding frenzies occurring offshore. Numbers of several species (e.g., BRPE, HEEG) w8ere considerably higher than previous visits. Weather: cloudy, breezy (8 mph, SSW), cool (63°F). Visibility decent, with Catalina clearly visible.
20 species

Pacific Loon (Gavia pacifica) 2 Two separate birds, both in basic-type plumage, both flying "north" low over the water. Getting a tad late, aren't we?
Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) 2 A pair on the water a short distance north of the pier.
Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) 200 A decent stream of birds well offshore, though slightly fewer birds than previous watches. A few birds came in very close, including two that joined a dolphin feeding frenzy just a couple hundred feet off the end of the pier--sweeeet looks!
Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma melania) 4 A handful waaaay out, at or beyond Lehman distance.
Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) 9
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) 1
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) 450
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) 2
Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) 52
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) 500
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) 4
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 6
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) 80
Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) 1400
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 31
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 15
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 3
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 2
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 1

1 comment:

Tom Benson said...

So would you expand on the term "Lehman distance"? Is it a quantitative or qualitative measurement? Is there a formula I can use to calculate it?