Sunday, July 17, 2011

Watch It VI



Some describe it as a twitter, others a whinny, and yet others liken it to a chorus of tiny handbells. I just can't hear it. To me, it just sounds like a Bushtit.

Whatever it may or may not sound like, I was surprised to hear it wafting down the pier on my latest seawatching extravaganza. A new pier bird. It seems that not even the most microscopic patch of shrubbery is free of Bushtits.

Newport Pier, Orange, US-CA
Jul 14, 2011 5:42 AM - 7:54 AM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments: Weather: cloudy, light breeze (~10 mph, SSW), very light drizzle, cool (67°F). Low tide. Thick clouds resulted in very dim viewing conditions for the first half-hour or so. Tern numbers are still much reduced from before, but decent numbers of everything else. There was at least one fair-sized (forty-plus strong) pod of dolphins well offshore, being followed by a large flock of gulls, terns, pelicans, and shearwaters. Human-wise, things were pretty normal on the pier today...I surrended the very end of the pier to fishermen and instead watched from about 7/8 of the way to the end.
28 species (+2 other taxa)

Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) 2 A pair sitting on the water well to the south.
Pink-footed Shearwater (Puffinus creatopus) 1
Sooty Shearwater (Puffinus griseus) 350 Lots, but they were all pretty distant.
Black-vented Shearwater (Puffinus opisthomelas) 1 One, my first of the summer.
Black Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma melania) 28
Brandt's Cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) 5
cormorant sp. (Phalacrocorax sp.) 2
Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) 85
Willet (Tringa semipalmata) 7
Marbled Godwit (Limosa fedoa) 6 A small fly-by flock just as I was walking down the pier.
Sanderling (Calidris alba) 1 My first of the summer, an alternate-plumage bird on the beach south of the pier.
peep sp. (Calidris sp.) 3 A small group flying north low over the water, not too distant, but blehhh
Heermann's Gull (Larus heermanni) 240 A considerable influx. They were everywhere, too--lots of birds flying offshore, lots on the beach. There were also considerable numbers of juveniles. I guess breeding is pretty much done with down in Mexico...
Western Gull (Larus occidentalis) 675
California Gull (Larus californicus) 4 It has been weird...I've seen very few CAGU this summer on the beach, but today there were four. Oversummering? Or failed breeders coming from somewhere?
Glaucous-winged Gull (Larus glaucescens) 1 An extremely straggly, bleached bird fighting over stale french bread with other gulls at the base of the pier. It was almost pure white, with just a small amount of creamy brown on the underparts. The bill was almost completely black. Interestingly, a very similar bird--probably the same one--was photographed by Eliot Harold maybe a week ago near the SAR mouth. I saw photos on OrangeCountyBirding and it looks very similar. Sweet, the first summering one I've seen in the county.
Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) 70
Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia) 22
Forster's Tern (Sterna forsteri) 2 Very few!
Royal Tern (Thalasseus maximus) 1
Elegant Tern (Thalasseus elegans) 210
Common Murre (Uria aalge) 1 One alternate-plumaged bird going "north." Altogether not too surprising given my previous sightings this summer (and there have been regular reports from La Jolla (Lehman et al). Still weird.
Cassin's Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) 16 Several small parties of 1-5 going "north", all distant. My highest count yet this summer, I believe.
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) 60
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) 4
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) 5
Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) 2 New bird for the pier for me! A couple calling from the tiny patch of ornamental shrubbery near the bathrooms at the base of the pier.
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) 1
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) 1
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) 3

1 comment:

Chatterbirds said...

Nice pier bird. I don't hear those sounds in their calls either. Wouldn't be able to describe it as anything other than "the sounds that the Bushtit makes".