Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Sunday, 24 January 2016

California - Day 3 - 14/1/16

We started the day with an Owling session in the dark in Robinson Canyon where we had a chance of seeing seven species of Owl, but despite trying we saw none. We birded the canyon for a couple of hours seeing a huge number of American Robins and various other bits.
Next up was our Grey Whale trip which was amazing. Not only did we see numerous Grey Whales, we saw several superb pelagic species, followed by the largest pod of Dolphins I've ever seen that duly surrounded the boat and rode the waves with us. A very memorable outing, and just after getting off the boat, I started hand feeding Heermann's Gulls that were then joined by a Glaucous-winged Gull
The rest of the day was spent further north at Moss Landing, again another fruitful visit full of great species (including seven species of Gull) and lots of Sea Otters. Night spent in Monterey. 

Robinson's Canyon
Pacific Wren - 2
Steller's Jay - 2
American Robin - ca.300
Acorn Woodpecker - 6
California Scrub Jay - 2
Red-shouldered Hawk - 2

Monterey Grey Whale outing
Belted Kingfisher - 1
Pacific Diver - 20
Black-vented Shearwater - 50
Short-tailed Shearwater - 2
Rhinoceros Auklet - 10
Ancient Murrelet - 10
Black-footed Albatross - 3
Mew Gull - 5
Glaucous-winged Gull - 1 1w
Grey Whale - 12
California Sea Lion - 200
Common Dolphin - 250

Moss Landing
Black-necked Stilt - 10
Thayer's Gull - 2 1w
American Herring Gull - 25
Glaucous-winged Gull - 6 
Ring-billed Gull - 5
Semipalmated Plover - 4
Snowy Egret - 1
Black Turnstone - 4
Red-throated Diver - 2
Hairy Woodpecker - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 15
Wild Turkey - 7
Hermit Thrush - 2

 Short-tailed Shearwater was another big surprise of this Whale trip, and in the end we saw two. With this, an Albatross, Murrelets and Auklets, it was very much so one of the better pelagics I've had, and even better no smell of chum knocking about

 an unexpected surprise was this stunning Black-footed Albatross that first drifted by behind the boat and out of site. However it soon turned towards us again and gave these views.

 our first of a few Grey Whales - it was easy to keep up with these mammals due to them being the slowest moving Whales on Earth, travelling between 4-6mph. 
 a huge Grey Whale heading south to the Gulf to breed, then in a few months time it will head back north along this route bound for Alaska.
 Ancient Murrelets - after seeing two flying away from us it was very satisfying to encounter this small group on the sea
 Black-vented Shearwater off Monterey
 Common Dolphins - this extremely large group containing hundreds of individuals tracked towards our boat and 'rode' alongside us
 California Sea Lion at Monterey

 Sea Otter at Mossbank
a stonking adult Glaucous-winged Gull that thankfully failed to fly despite our close presence
 our boat for the morning
 although the sea looks calm, it certainly wasn't, in fact the waves were the highest I've encountered and made photography and balancing a real struggle, but the stomach dealt with it fine
the Dolphins riding in front of us