Sunday, September 29, 2019

Whales, Condors and Warblers

Todd and I definitely made the most of our trip to California. On our quest to find a few lifers for me, we also came across other birds and sea life. Here are a few follow up photos including these California Sealions on the Monterey Jetty.

California Sealion
And plenty of Humpback Whales. Here is a photo of Pink-footed Shearwater and a whale together.

Pink-footed Shearwater and Humpback Whale
I've seen plenty of Humpback whales but this is the best "fluke" photo that I've ever had. This photo is not cropped. That is how close the whale was to the boat!

Humpback Whale Fluke
Remember, the boat is not allowed to chase the whale. We need to stop at some distance away. This one came really close. Very exciting. We also saw Risso's Dolphins on the trip. You can identify them at a distance because their heads look white. These guys came right at the boat and I was able to snap this shot. He looks like he's smiling for the camera! 

Risso's Dolphin
Back on land, we spent time just driving the roads along the coast, cattle fields and canyons looking for birds. Todd spotted a MacGillivray's warbler but I missed it. They are skulkers and hard to see. Todd is really good at understanding suitable habitat for birds and calling them out by "pishing". I used that information on another day and got to see this MacGillivray's warbler along another road. Ta-da!

MacGillivray's Warbler
Another sweet warbler that we found along the canyon roads was Wilson's warbler. You can easily identify these warblers by the black "yamaka" that they wear on their head. 

WIlson's Warbler
Anna's hummingbirds are common in California. We rarely stopped along the road and didn't see one. Here is a young male perched. You can see his throat patch coming in like a teenaged boy trying to grow a goatee.
Anna's Hummingbird
Back along the coast, we stopped at a beach for a walk. We were treated to this harbor seal basking on the rocks. Look at the waves splashing behind her.

Harbor Seal
We were also able to photograph some beach birds. Black Oystercatchers are the common species on the Pacific coast. Like our Oystercatcher, they have that bright orange bill and flesh toned legs.

Black Oystercatcher
Heerman'g gulls are some of my favorite. I love their muted gray tones. This one is ready to take flight.

Heerman's Gull
This crab was almost lunch for a Western Gull but the bird dropped the crab when he saw us walking up the beach. We snapped a photo before returning the crab to the water.

Purple Shore Crab
All-in-all, a great trip to northern California coast.

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