Posted by: atowhee | September 10, 2008

Tattler, The Stare and other loonacy

Left to right: Song Sparrow, Red-necked Phalarope, Black Phoebe, White-crowned Sparrow  I was birding the San Mateo Coast with Kenneth Beerbohm.  Gray, overcast, cool, typical Pacific weather.  And there were almost no other humans about, but we were seldom truly alone:

One or more harbor seals were present along our walkway, floating in the calm of Princeton Harbor.  Keeping an eye out.


Shorebirds a-plenty:







The Black-bellied Plover (which the Brits wisely call “Grey Plover”) on the right actually retains a slight tinge of the black belly that is present during the breeding season up north.

Got this picture just as the Wandering Tattler began his flight down behind those rocks where we couldn’t follow him. Later he flew far down the jetty where he was invisible to us.





Sanderlings: I need to eat and

run.  That’s their beach motto.


As we know, Sanderlings do not like to eat alone. The louder the surf (music), the bigger the crowd, the more insistent the in-and-out of the waves, the happier these little diners appear to be,  They skitter across the beach, eating on the run, running after the receding waves to catch the tiny critters just stranded before those can dig into the wet sand.  How much grit they must swallow in a day of frantic sand-pecking.


Man shall not be watched by seal alone: Later we saw this young Blue Heron, or another, show once again why you do not want to be reincarnated as a meadow vole:




That foot-lifting stab sent shivers down my spine and I’m a bit bigger than the heron.  He missed his target…this time.  But there are many Blue Herons so clearly they do not always miss.


 This is “the look.”  More intimidating than even the heron’s fearful stab. A young Cooper’s.


CCommon Loons were common at Princeton.  The trio above was at rest after several minutes of long dives.  At least once we saw the fish caught, and hanging from the beak that runs a good second the the blue heron’s sabre.

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