Thursday, October 19, 2017

Massive Berserker Post

Although we are now in Ross's Goose season, this was a bird of spring. With a dent in its head for some reason, but more importantly, a bird from last spring. As you can guess, I have much blogwork to do. Stafford Lake, Marin County, CA.

Where did September go? Well dorks, there is one thing that we can all agree on...I have a lot of catching up to do with this blog. So with that unfortunate fact on the table, this post is going to be a photo blitz! No time for ruminating on the state of birding affairs or the usual bullshit. I typically don't include so many photos in a single post, but these are not typical times...

This Black-and-white Warbler was a totally unexpected find in a mixed flock at Point Reyes in mid-April. Most spring BAWWs in California are found in May. Five Brooks Pond, Marin County, CA.

I'm not used to seeing chipmunks at sea level, but then again Marin is the place to be to see mammals both of land and sea. I'm not familiar with this richly-colored species, which was also at Five Brooks Pond. Anybody? RT? JK?  Christian and TaxMan helped with the ID - this is a Sonoma Chipmunk.

I am used to seeing Pacific Wrens at sea level, though I pretty much never get to photograph them. 

This bird was singing from an exposed perch, with no apparent urge to hide as usual. Thank you Pacific Wren.

One day, Billy, Annabelle and I headed to the Santa Cruz coast to see a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. We failed in this endeavor, and were forced to look at this pair of nesting Western Gulls instead. Not unexpected, but still unfortunate.

One of the big upsides to moving south from Albany to San Jose is that now I'm much closer to Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, a great place for shorebirds and waterbirds in general. This Forster's Tern, which breed there, was in the midst of a display flight. Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, Alviso, CA.

And this Forster's Tern had a wiggly cap.

I've pointed it out a couple times before, but it bears repeating...Forster's can have a gray wash on the underparts, like Commons, which is visible on all three of the above individuals.

Crushing terns brings me great joy.

This is one of my favorite FOTE shots I've ever taken, and I've taken a great many. I rarely get head-on shots with perf composure and focus, not to mention lighting.

These terns were discretely having some sex. Other birds were not so discrete that day.

Caspian Terns breed at the refuge as well. I think it is safe to assume that all the birds foraging behind my house (in the Los Capitancillos Ponds) all summer were commuting to and from nests here at the refuge - it's cool to see the home base of my backyard fish fiends.

These exhibitionist avocets decided to get down to some avosex right next to the trail.

This is how avocets are made.

The cloacal kiss!

The avocet version of a post-coital cuddle.

Black-necked Stilts were hanging around, doing it in the open as well.

Crossing bills and a wing-cuddle while copulating? I don't think PDA can go much further than that.

The male dismounted when finished but continued with the kissing and cuddling. Gross.

Thankfully, their display of raw stilt hedonism came to an end and we could all part ways without making eye contact. 

There were a few local rarities around on this morning as well, the best of which was this lingering Glaucous Gull. After going years without seeing any, I've seen them in three different counties so far this year. And so it goes...

A Savannah Sparrow, one of the local breeders, teed up briefly next to the trail. I would say more about it, but if I am being completely honest with you...I need more coffee.


  1. Cool stuff! I once commented "#avosex!" on an Audubon Society instagram photo that looked similar to yours. They deleted it.

  2. Should be Sonoma Chipmunk in Marin.

  3. Yeah, I was late to seeing this. Sorry to fail you. I agree with Sonoma Chipmunk.