Posted by: atowhee | October 21, 2009

A Northern California birding trip

If you live east of the Rockies, this could be the trip for you.  We’re putting this together for Partners in International Birding for next year.  It will include a pelagic trip out of Monterey.

Sunday, September 12th- Friday, September 17, 2010

One day extension for Monterey pelagic birding trip.  Further two-day extension offered for trip to see second California endemic, Island Srcub-Jay off Ventura.

Target birds: Yellow-billed Magpie, greatly reduced in number by West Nile virus and possibly endangered.  One of two California endemics.    California Thrasher, California Quail, California Towhee, California Gull,  Anna’s Hummingbird, Black Oystercatcher, Band-tailed Pigeon, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Tanager, Black Phoebe, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Wandering Tattler, Marbled Godwit, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Cassin’s Auklet, Marbled Murrelet, Pink-footed Shearwater, Buller’s Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Black-footed Albatross, Ashy Storm-Petrel, Sabine’s Gull, Arctic Tern, Clapper Rail, Cinnamon Teal, Elegant Tern, Pacific Loon, Clark’s and Western Grebe, Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorant,  Thayer’s Gull, Heermann’s Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull, Western Gull, both pelicans, White-tailed Kite, Red and Red-necked Phalarope, Spotted Towhee, Wrentit, Golden-crowned Sparrow, Tricolored Blackbird, possibly all three scoters.

Mammals: California sealion, California ground squirrel, coyote, harbor seal, harbor porpoise, white-sided dolphin, humpback whale, sea otter, river otter, elk, mule deer, black-tailed jackrabbit, bobcat.

Sunday, Sept. 12.–Arrive at SFO.  Early arrivals will get in some birding in the afternoon.

Monday, Sept. 13– We bird San Francisco.  Black Oystercatcher, Black Turnstone, Surfbird, Brandt’s Cormorant, Chestnut-sided Chickadee, Heermann’s Gull, Thayer’s Gull, Clark’s and Western Grebe.  Short seawatch for loons and other ocean birds.  Migrants could include Western Tanager, Bullock’s Oriole Hermit Warbler and Townsend’s Warbler.

Tuesday, Sept. 14–Point Reyes National Seashore and Marin County.  Look for some of Point Reyes’ storied vagrants.  All three scoters possible, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Oak Titmouse, Acorn Woodpecker, California Quail, Hutton’s Vireo, Wilson’s Warbler, Black Phoebe, Western Bluebird, Wrentit, Spotted Towhee, Tricolored Blackbird.

Wednesday, Sept. 15–Inland to Livermore.  Yellow-billed Magpie, California Thrasher, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Westrern Meadowlark, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, Spotted Towhee.

Thursday, Sept. 16–Calaveras Big Trees in the Sierra Foothills.  Giant sequoia trees. White-headed Woopecker, Mountain Chickadee, Mountain Bluebird, possible Sooty Grouse, Dipper, Burrowing Owl, possible Mountain Quail.

Friday, Sept. 17–Go to Big Sur at dawn for California Condor.  There are now more condors in the wild thanin captivity as the restoration program continues to work for the largest birds in North America.  Also possible Dipper, sea otter, any ocean birds we’ve missed.   Those not staying for pelagic extension, return to SFO in the afternoon.   All pelagic birders will overnight in downtown Monterey near boat docks. Friday afternoon in Monterey can used for sight-seeing,  a visit to the huge Monterey Aquarium or general loafing about. 

Saturday, Sept. 18–Debbie Shearwater Journeys leave the dock early.  This Shearwater Pelagic Trip will be with California’s premiere offshore birding outfit.  Expect three or more species of shearwater, Black-footed Albatross with Laysan possible, Ashy Storm-Petrel, a handful of alcids including Cassin’s Auklet and Marbled Murrelet, Arctic Tern, Sabine’s Gull and all three jaegers.  With luck at least one South Polar Skua as well.

Further extension possible for those wishing to make the trip south to Ventura and a short boat ride out to see the Island Scrub-Jay on the only island it inhabits, Santa Cruz Island.  The drive south would take place on Sunday, Sept. 19.  The boat trip on the morning of Monday, Sept. 20.  Participants could fly out of LAX late Monday or on Tuesday.  Returning to San Francisco would require the remainder of Monday so flights would need to be on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

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