Saturday, October 4, 2008

Birding Festival - part 1

My apologies for not posting sooner. This has been a very busy week, plus I am trying to read three books at the same time, keep up with reading my birding magazines, keep up with a daily two-hour podcast (Issues, etc), and finding time to spend with the kittens, much less the other pets in our household. I know, whine, whine, whine. But something's gotta give. I have also been disappointed in the quality of my photos. So I am going to ask that you visit Red's blog; she has better quality photos she has posted.

Our first event on Friday was a full day's trip to various places in the Monterey-Watsonville area. Our first stop was Zmudowski State Beach. And it's obvious this was a place where we should have seen mostly shorebirds, but could also see other birds farther out to sea as well as other birds to be seen and/or heard on the dunes.

When we parked our cars in the lot we had a 1/4-mile walk to get to the beach. Between the parking lot and the beach and all around us was agricultural land. Below is a photo I took of some farm workers out in the field for the day.
[Don't forget to click on the photos to see a larger view.]
Once we arrived at the beach we could look all around us and see quite a variety of birds. Looking back toward the dunes I was watching this great egret while others were looking farther north or south or even west (out toward the ocean).
Looking north one could see the beautiful mountains in the distance and we could see a variety of shorebirds out in the lagoon in the foreground. The birds I could ID out here were mostly double-crested cormorants and gulls (for lack of properly identifying them). There is even a male mallard on the sandbar, too. Other folks chose to walk around the dunes and look for other species. In the distance I could hear a California quail calling from the dunes. Only a few folks in our group got the opportunity to see the quail.

As for sea birds we could have seen Sooty or Pink-footed Shearwaters, or Ashy or Black Storm-Petrels. But anything we saw flying out and about beyond a few hundred yards was quite difficult to identify. Even some of the good birders were finding it difficult to determine what was out there. Meanwhile, closer to us within our eyesight we saw many brown pelicans among the many gulls.
Once everyone felt they saw all they wanted to see at and around the beach the group headed for the next stop, Moon Glow Dairy.


Ruth said...

You lead a busy life and there is no need to apologize for that! I would love to see the scenery on your birding trip and the birds would just be a bonus.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

I agree that there is so much info out there that one needs to make priotities.Enjoy each day.Your pcitures are lovely.

Mary C said...

Thanks, Ruth - I think I needed to hear that. I do hope I can get the other posts uploaded sooner rather than later.

Thank you "ruth's photo blog" for stopping by and commenting. I hope you will come back and comment again. I will be sure to stop by your blog and leave a comment as well.

Shellmo said...

I especially like the last photo with the surf coming up on your bird friends!

Linda in Erieq said...

The photos are great. I just love California Quail. When I brought my husband out to California on vacation we were at a stop sign in the country and some CA Quail trotted alongside the road. He laughed heartily at their little head feathers sticking up.

How wonderful to get away like that a look for birds.

Leedra said...

Any day out photographing is a good day. You sound as frustrated as I was today when I got in and saw none of the 20 photographs I took of 2 different deer turned out at all. I had a very frustrating day photographing, and got up in time for sunrise, and then have to work until midnight. We all have these times when we just do not get what we think we should have. I think that is what keeps us going out there, because we know we can do better. The next photo is going to be THE one.

Mary C said...

Hi Shelley -- you would have liked being there. It was mesmerizing just standing there watching the waves break, and it was fun trying to get a photo of the birds with the breakers behind them. I didn't quite succeed, but you can probably imagine/visualize being there.

Hi Linda - thanks. It's been about a year since I last saw any CA quail, but at least I heard them during the weekend. I love hearing their calls.

Hi Leedra -- You're right - any day out photographing is a good day. And like you said, it can be frustrating when you can't get exactly what you want. But I guess that's the joy of taking pictures of nature - you can always keep trying.

Mary said...

Mary, that last shot is wonderful. It takes me away to somewhere I'd rather be :o)

Mary C said...

Mary, your comment made me think of that old commercial - "Calgon, take me away." I think those of us who grew up around the coast always think of the ocean and beaches as any excellent place to get away from it all. Don't you agree?


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