Monday, March 25, 2013

Island Bound

This is it bird fiends. Perpetual Weekend Y2K12-Y2K13 has finally slipped beneath the waves of my actual career. Today I go out to Santa Cruz Island for five days of training, orientation and getting familiar with field sites. Black Oystercatcher is one of the species we will be monitoring if we are lucky enough to actually find some nests. Photographed at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline, Richmond, CA.


Brandt's Cormorants will be occupying a lot of our time, as they make up a significant portion of the breeding seabirds there. Photographed in Monterey, CA.

One thing I am looking forward to is counting and identifying foraging seabirds...this is something I do for fun, but now it will be for Science! I'm sure some Surf Scoters will be around while it is still early spring. Photographed at Miller-Knox Regional Shoreline.


I expect Pomarine Jaegers to make a decent showing as well.  Distant jaeger identification is something I would like to be better at, so these long seawatches should provide great opportunities for hardcore jaeger-gazing. Photographed offshore from Monterey, CA.


Parasitic Jaegers will no doubt be around as well. I'm really looking forward to commuting to and from the island (by boat, obvi) for seabirding opportunities. It's all over the continental shelf but the channel can be birdy sometimes. Photographed in Half Moon Bay, CA.

This is one of the long-staying hybrid American X Black Oystercatchers at the Ventura Harbor, where I'll be getting on the boat. These birds are relentlessly misidentified as American Oystercatchers by various birders. Note the heavily black uppertail, which is one of the best marks that show off its hybrid vigor.

Later nerds!

13 comments:

  1. Woo-hoo! Best re: your adventure. Sweet. Hope you get the stylish water wings for the boat ride v. the uncool ones left at the bottom of the pile. =)

    Any plans to get INTO the water??

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    1. There is a nice sandy beach a short walk from our ranch. It is possible, but I've always been on the Land Team.

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  2. Wahoo, score on the posish! Have fun and enjoy getting paid to seabird!

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  3. Sweet photos...enjoy your new job!

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    1. Thanks Tammy! I have a feeling I will.

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  4. I photographed A hybrid Oystercatcher out on Cruz last season, when I wasn't being toyed with by the ISSJ's! Definitely an amazing place to work...keep an eye out for the Scrub Jay crew, they are always down for friendly conversation and beers.

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    1. Yes indeed we are! Come say hi, Seagull Steve!

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    2. Im at the main ranch right now! We will cross paths soon.

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  5. Good luck, Tucker! Enjoy that endemic species and all the endemic subspecies out there! That's frickin' awesome you get to seawatch and get paid, also. JERK! ;)

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  6. Sweet, stoked for more oystercatchers. They are such ridiculous birds.

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    1. The island is extremely cliffy so I will mostly be viewing them from afar. If I can find just one of their nests I will be happy, the girls out there last year failed apparently.

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