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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Babymoon: Monterey Bay Birding

The weather in California is for the most part awesome. It is awesome in summer, fall and spring. Winter we may get just a few cloudy days, maybe a couple of rain showers, but in general it’s just a whole bunch of awesome.

This year however the awesomeness of our weather has sucked a big one. It has been the coldest, rainiest, worst winter out of the eight years I have spent in California. We scheduled this trip knowing that the weather may not cooperate and well we were right, it didn’t cooperate. It was cloudy, called for chances of showers and in general was a little chillier than I would have hoped. And you know what; we didn’t let it bother us. Since tomorrow showed a higher chance of rain we decided to chance today spent sightseeing and leave the rainer day for the aquarium.

Last year I went to San Francisco on a little side birding trip and had planned on stopping for two days in Monterey bay. A huge storm system forced me to cut my trip short so I knew this trip that I wanted to visit the biggest birding place that I missed; the Elkhorn Slough.

I haven’t birded in six months and it felt fantastic to get out and be in nature again. Of course I didn’t overdo it. I didn’t carry my big lens, pout, and we didn’t walk for very far or very fast. There were multiple points of interest in the Slough area. We stopped at the beach first where we found various birds in the plants on the dunes and searching the water for food.

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HOUSE FINCH

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HOUSE FINCH ORANGE PHASE

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LONG BILLED CURLEW

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SANDERLING

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WILLET

The beach was hard to walk on and it was pretty windy so we headed to our next stop the Elkhorn Slough Moss Landing. This was an interior marsh that was originally created by the Monterey Bay Salt company who dammed up the water to control the water flow in the late 1800s. When the company closed in 1974 the California Department of Fish & Game stepped in to protect the wildlife that had moved in as a result of the marshes creation.

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There was such an amazing amount of birds in the marsh, including a few awesome surprises. I was in nerdy birdy bliss and Mr. Rogue was awesome to indulge me for so long. Birding may not be his favorite thing in the world, thank goodness that I am his favorite thing!

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HE IS MY NUMBER 1

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AMERICAN AVOCET

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PELAGIC CORMORANT

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COMMON GOLDENEYE

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GREBE

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COMMON LOON

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WHIMBREL

When leaving the marsh we ran into another birder, of course I started to chat with him about his favorite places in the area and he suggested a spot in the marina where he had just spotted some cool birds. It is always nice to talk to the local birders if you can, they always have the best suggestions and he ended up being spot on. The marina was teaming with birds and Sea Otters.

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A PIER OVERFLOWING WITH SEALS

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HARRIER

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WHITE TAILED KITE

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THESE LITTLE GUYS WERE ADORABLE

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We were starving so we stopped off at a local enchilada place where Mr. Rogue got a margarita. Best part was his orange plastic mermaid. He kept it he was so excited. I remember doing that as a kid, loving those little plastic figures or the swords full of cherries. It was adorable.

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We were losing our light and the weather was getting worse but we had one more stop, the actual nature center and freshwater marsh. In hindsight we should have maybe started at this location. It was massive with tons of trails and in the right conditions I could see how this would be a great place to come. So late in the day with only 45 minutes until close we really didn’t get to see that much. I guess it is the perfect excuse to come back again.

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We didn’t see very many birds, and the few that we did see were pretty far off in the distance. The two that I managed to get a decent photo of was a Savannah Sparrow and a Yellow Rumped Warbler. Both were in the brush lining the water and were actually pretty well camouflaged. I loved how the red complimented the birds.

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SAVANNAH SPARROW

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YELLOW RUMPED WARBLER

We headed back to the hotel for my favorite part of the day. We both cuddled up with the patio door wide open and took a nap; falling asleep to the waves crashing just outside the window. It was PURE BLISS I tell you.

Dinner was at a recommended local seafood place. Much to Mr. Rogue’s dismay I ended up ordering a side of mashed potatoes and the salad bar. All this rich food over Vegas and this vacation I just wanted something plain. But don’t worry we did end up splurging with the Lava Cake!

2 comments:

Jennifer Arens said...

Sounds like my kind of excursion, sans birds :-).

paul peggy zeus said...

so many nice pictures. Especially loved the sea otter looking at you!

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