And stayed... for three hours... Never did get to Newport!
|Specs in the water caught my eye|
PACIFIC LOONS were plentiful and glorious. There were probably 1,000 in the water and thousands more that flew by.
I expect the hundreds of COMMON MURRE accounted for some of the noise. Along with the many PIGEON GUILLEMOT.
I spent most of my time studying the rafts - leaving the waves of passing migrants to the experts (I get frustrated trying to figure out who those flying birds are).
|Mixed Raft of Birds|
The water was so clear, and the raft so near the rocky shore, that you could see the birds underwater as they dove (front, just to the right of center).
Some of the fly-bys were familiar regulars, like this line of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.
Or distinctive like the groups of WHIMBRELS that flew by.... (well ok, not always distinctive, like when they're right above the water).
But most were small and medium shorebirds, or PEEPS (Western Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Dunlin, etc.). You can see some of the PEEPS that flew by in the foreground here...
I started noticing that some of the little birds were joining the rafts -- their flight made me think of Phalaropes -- sure enough, there were dozens, and then hundreds of RED-NECKED PHALAROPES!
|Pacific Loon, Common Murre and Red-necked Phalarope|
This was a nice shot showing the size difference - look how tiny the Phalaropes are!
A line of SURF SCOTERS flew by - a little too far to get a camera shot, but here's a fuzzy pic:
And, of course, there were the ever-challenging gulls (can you help me ID any of them?):
|Glaucous-winged Gull (center)|
I'm told the all-white gull is a GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL in a weird molt.
And just as I was about to leave, a pair of BROWN PELICANS gracefully joined the raft...
It was a wonderful experience watching the birds arrive and depart, picking out the familiar movements and colorations. Studying differences with so many birds side-by-side. Truly awe-inspiring!
Common Murres arrive....
and splash down to join the raft.
Wish you could've been there with me!