October Birds – California Coast

October 28, 2015 at 6:24 am (Bird photography, Birds - California, California, National Wildlife Refuges (US Fish & Wildlife), Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildlife) ()

Black oystercatcher

Black oystercatcher

It’s that thick red outline around the yellow eye that makes the black oystercatcher look like a bird drawn by a child. The fat pink legs and thick red bill add to the comedic look of this shorebird that posed nicely for me just outside the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Acorn woodpecker

Acorn woodpecker

The handsome acorn woodpecker also has a clownish aspect with the large white eyes and perky red cap.  At both Pinnacles National Park and Elkhorn Slough, they took advantage of the abundance of acorns (this one from the coastal live oak) to store them in their granary trees – usually pines with their thick bark and soft wood. There were plenty of vacant holes they had drilled previously, that were perfectly sized to store the acorns.

Granary Tree

Granary Tree

Acorns in granary tree

Acorns in granary tree

Coastal live oak acorns

Coastal live oak acorns

Sandhill cranes, Pixley NWR

Sandhill cranes, Pixley NWR

I’ve seen sandhill cranes in Florida, Georgia, and Colorado.  Now I’ve seen them in California.

Long-billed curlew

Long-billed curlew, Moss Landing

The super-long bill of the long-billed curlew makes this bird hard to ignore.

Long-billed curlew

Long-billed curlew

Least sandpiper

Least sandpiper

The least sandpipers are smaller cousins.

Least sandpiper flock

Least sandpiper flock

Sandpipers in a flock make it harder for the harriers to pick off an individual.

White-tailed kite

White-tailed kite

Ornithologists are always changing the names of birds.  This one is also known as the black-shouldered kite, a bird of prey at Moss Landing.

Harrier

Harrier

The harrier has an owl-like face.  It hunts low over open areas like marshes and fields looking for rodents and unsuspecting birds.

Harrier

Harrier

The white band at the base of the tail is a major identification trait of the harrier.

Harrier

Harrier

Red-tailed hawk

Red-tailed hawk

There is a wide variation of color in the ubiquitous red-tailed hawk.

Cooper's or sharp-shinned hawk

Cooper’s or sharp-shinned hawk

I’m never sure which hawk this one is without another pair of eyes to help, but it swooped in while I was watching woodpeckers at Pinnacles National Monument.

Golden-crowned sparrow first winter

Golden-crowned sparrow first winter

I didn’t realize this was a golden-crowned sparrow until I saw the yellow sheen on the forehead when I processed the photographs.

Fox Sparrow, Pacific Grove

Fox Sparrow, Pacific Grove

Sparrows tend to be on the drab side, but the fox sparrow has a bit more to offer in the wardrobe department.

Oak titmouse

Oak titmouse

I saw about three dozen species of birds on a walk at Elkhorn Slough north of Monterey, including this oak titmouse.

Common Murre

Common Murre

On a Monterey Bay whale watch trip I saw three species that became #455, 456, and 457 on my life list:  common murre, sooty shearwater, black-vented shearwater.

Sooty shearwater

Sooty shearwater

Black-vented shearwater

Black-vented shearwater

And #458 – Brandt’s cormorant, which was easy to see from shore.

Brandt's cormorant

Brandt’s cormorant

Heermann's gull

Heermann’s gull

Brown pelican at sunset

Brown pelican at sunset

A fitting end to this collection of birds.  Goodnight!

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Website:  CindyMcIntyre.com

Online gallery:  Smugmug and Fine Art America

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Contact:  cindy at cindymcintyre.com

 

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5 Comments

  1. anroworld said,

    Fantastic pictures, Cindy, I love them! My favorite is oak titmouse, such a cute hairstyle! I also want such!

  2. Victor Rakmil said,

    Great series, great post.

  3. mbkircus said,

    Marvelous pictures. You might like to paddle Elkhorn Slough – one of the top paddles of my life due to birds, seals, a fox and great scenery. And there is a kayak story right at the intersection with the beach.

  4. Susaan said,

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photographs. Since becoming a caregiver for my mother and my father-in-law in the last 2 years, I’m not able to get out and spend time in with nature like I used to be. Also being on the East Coast (FL), you present a lot of species that we don’t have here. I am vicariously traveling and seeing these creatures and places through your wonderful artwork!

    • Cindy McIntyre said,

      Hi Susaan – Florida certainly has some of the best birding around and I miss it. Hope you are able to attract birds to the yard with feeders. Being a caregiver is a very important role and I wish you well.

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