I've been making a point of checking out Clover Point just around sunrise every morning this week in the hope of finding a grounded lapland longspur, horned lark or similar.
And every morning I've thus far been unsuccessful.
Despite the lack of enticing off-passage migrants, there's actually been a fair bit of activity on show. Large numbers of common murres and rhinoceros auklets can be seen offshore, and dotted among them there are always a few pigeon guillemots and a handful of marbled murrelets.
The surf scoter flocks continue to build, as do the numbers of harlequin duck along the rocky shoreline. Horned grebes and red-necked grebes are increasing too, and all week there have been up to three western grebes.
Yesterday I happened to take a pic of a pair of distant western grebes as they were elegantly silhouetted by the rising sun. As you can see here, the resulting snap (taken through my 'scope) was pretty terrible.
|Both western grebes?|
The bird on the left appears to have a brighter, slightly upturned bill and it's eye is clearly visible against its white cheek.
The angle isn't great but as I peered at it I couldn't help thinking that there was enough to set small alarm bells tinkling... I just wish I'd noticed at the time!
I expect that this is well within the range of western, but having never seen a Clarke's grebe I thought it might be worth gathering some input from other birders.
Naturally, I have looked for the grebe again but have so far only seen 1 western in the area.
Anyhoo, dodgy dubious grebes aside, other things of note down at Clover Point this week include the arrival of at least 4 common loons, a fly-by mini-skein of 4 greater white-fronted geese and a few more Thayer's gulls joining the larid masses. There are still lots of Heermann's gulls around while California gulls are starting to thin out. Mew gull numbers increase daily.
|Western sandpipers roosting on kelp|
Of the few passerines passing through, savannah sparrow numbers peaked at an unremarkable 8 this morning (Friday), with a few American pipits passing over most days. Good numbers of American robins were on the move on Tuesday and on Thursday 4 Brewer's blackbirds were something of a surprise.
Otherwise, I made a couple of brief stops at Summit Hill reservoir where I saw my first lesser scaup of the autumn. A couple of shoveler remain on the water and the garry oaks continue to attract good numbers of yellow-rumped warblers.
One day, as I walked to the lake I stumbled across the impressive fellow in the picture here. I assume it's a field cricket. Very nice!
With a mini-pelagic planned for tomorrow, I hope to see some half-decent seabirds. We're not heading out too far, just to Race Rocks, so there'll be no shearwaters or albatrosses but it'll be interesting to see what we can find.