Talk to Me of Mendocino

Back in California in mid May for a county birding trip to Lake County with John Sterling and Todd Easterla, then a pelagic trip off the Mendocino coast the following day.  Sterling needed three county birds in Lake County to get to 233 which is 75% of the total county list and Todd needed nine to get to 200, so off we went at 7 am.  First stop was Borax Lake, a small alkaline lake near the large, freshwater Clear Lake.  Todd spotted a Black-necked Stilt, a locally rare bird.  Next stop was Boggs Mountain where we saw several Type 3 Red Crossbills.

Red Crossbill

Red Crossbill

We checked several areas along the south shore of Clear Lake where we spotted a Black-chinned Hummingbird, immature Bald Eagle, and several Purple Martins and Hooded Orioles among the many common species and Sterling and Easterla reached their goals for the effort.  Of course, we found many new species for the Traveling Trinovid Our day ended on the Mendocino coast where Sanderlings in different stages of molt offered good photo opportunities.

Sanderling

Sanderling

The highlight of the trip was the pelagic excursion on May 19th organized by Karen Havlena of the Mendocino Audubon Society.  A full boat with Todd, Rob Fowler from Humboldt County and me as leaders.  Best bird was the surprising and very cooperative immature Brown Booby that came right to the boat, often too close for photography!  Shortly afterward, a Laysan Albatross flew by for a good view.   The wind and swells were high, so we saw very few alcids, but we had a good show with many Black-footed Albatross, Sooty and Pink-footed shearwaters and one Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel.  Common Murres and Pigeon Guillemots were prevalent close to shore as we returned to port just as an Osprey flew over carrying a fish.

Text & images – John Sterling

Brown Booby

Brown Booby

Laysan Albatross

Laysan Albatross

Osprey with fish

Osprey with fish