Saturday, 18 June 2011

I Wish They All Could Be California Gulls

Following a thoroughly dull trundle around the Government House woodland trail this morning, I headed down to Clover Point for a spot of afternoon seawatching. The idea had been place in my mind by Ian Cruikshank who had called to say he was going to do that very thing; I didn't get out until later, and obviously missed him.

So, while he may well come back with reports of tufted puffins, terns  and shearwaters, my hour and a half of scanning the ocean waves revealed little to cause excitement.
As usual, there were good numbers of rhinoceros auklet around (pictured), mainly in pairs or small feeding groups. Further out, pigeon guillemots were seen in small numbers and I was delighted to pick up a pair of marbled murrelet fairly close in. A third murrelet was also noted, but surprisingly was in non-breeding plumage. I'll have to ask my pal, and marbled murrelet aficionado, Bernard Schroeder if this is typical for some non-breeders at this time of year...

Other than a few pelagic cormorants, I failed to turn up anything else of note offshore.
The noisy alarm calls of black oystercatchers drew my attention to a passing flock of 11 birds and I noticed that gull numbers were starting to build up quite a bit. Among the numbers of glaucous-winged gulls, of all ages, there appears to have been something of an influx of California gulls (pictured), mainly 2 & 3CY birds from what I could figure out.  

* Apologies to Brian Wilson (I'm sure he reads this blog, avidly) for the terrible title pun...

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