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Monday, August 2, 2010

Birds and Butterflies on the South End

The fog burned off early today - it was sunny before noon! Perfect weather for going out and doing a COASST survey on my beach. When I didn't turn up any beached birds (I wonder if I'll ever find any there?) it was perfect weather to continue on and look for some live birds.

Despite lots of people out and about enjoying the summer weather, there were some good finds at Fourth of July Beach. Out on the water were four white-winged scoters, five surf scoters, and two common loons. On the shoreline and in the mostly dry lagoon were no fewer than 16 least sandpipers, including this juvenile:

I also noticed half a dozen or more white butterflies, and, inspired by the great butterfly photos Warren and Dave keep posting, I decided to try my luck too. They sure didn't sit still for long, so this was the best I was able to do. Good enough, though, for me to identify it as a female cabbage white (Pieris rapae) - a species found all over the United States:

Down at Cattle Point things were pretty quiet in the pass with no sign of the minke whale or Steller sea lions we saw there from the boat yesterday. There were two harlequin ducks along the coastline and lots of pelagic cormorants and glaucous-winged gulls on Goose Island. As I walked out to the lighthouse I saw three swallow species (barn, violet-green, northern rough-winged) and two finch species (house, American goldfinch). I continued walking along the shoreline and in addition to seeing some orcas offshore in the distance I came upon a flock of 150 Heermann's gulls and five black oystercatchers. As I looped back to the car the most interesting species of note was a pair of Anna's hummingbirds. All in all, I saw 22 bird species in an hour and a half.


The K said...

Perhaps you could request an additional survey beach from COASST or at least a different one? I realize no finds is data although it is uninteresting to the collector. Just a thought

Monika said...

Nah, none of the San Juan beaches really find any birds - just an odd one here or there. I think they said there were like 2 bird finds in the last 259 SJI surveys or something like that. I'm fine with my data being no finds - I'll just come visit your beach in the fall and help with all of yours again!

Monts said...

Hi Monika
Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving the nice comment, I have just had a good look through your blog it was very interesting to read about your work with the Orcas.Only very rarely do we get the odd sighting here in SW UK and this year one was spotted in the Lands End area,they are more likely to be found off the North West coast of Scotland. I also found it interesting about the colonization of the Collared Dove over there, they started to colonize here in 1956 and are now everywhere, in fact there are two outside on the overhead phone lines as I type this.Our other big success here is the Little Egret fifteen years ago this was a rare visitor from Southern Europe now we have a large population and they are spreading North.Also in the last couple of years Cattle Egrets have been turning up in larger numbers so maybe the same will happen with them. Anyway again many thanks and I will stop by and keep up with your exploits from time to time.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Glad you think my butterfly pics are OK.
But this got me thinking if only I could find these over here "Out on the water were four white-winged (= Velvet)scoters, five surf scoters, and two common loons (= Great Northern Divers)." Now that would be an hour and a half's birding!!!!!!!! Oh and throw in a Least Sand for good measure, no real need to get up the following day or the day after that either.
Great stuff



Warren Baker said...

Chasing Butterflies is VERY time consuming Monika! Even when they stop, it's hard to get the angle and light just right :-) They are worth the effort though - Keep at it.......

Monika said...

Monts - Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Interesting stuff about the egret species over there!

Dave - I guess our black/common scoters are officially different species now!

Warren - They always seem to sit down at the perfect angle in the right light just out of reach of the camera! I'll keep trying.