Just back from Utah, where the conviviality met expectations, and the birding disappointed. I did pick up a few new birds for the List that I would otherwise never see around here, but I only garnered 21 bird styles total for the four days. Weak. In stark contrast, I offer today’s bird/hike total: 26. And we probably saw 20 of those in the first 2 miles. This was at the Cowell-Purisima Coastal Trail.
This picture is from a previous visit. I didn’t bring my camera. We had less fog today, but the fog would be welcome after our visit to America’s Southwest. The bird counts are as low as the humidity there. We sought birdy regions that provided the requisite shelter, food and water, but you would hike quite a ways and not see or hear birds. Our backyard gets more action. And today: lordy. You couldn’t go five steps without hitting more birds. The big crowds were in the sparrow and finch categories. White-crowned Sparrows and American Goldfinch were there in overwhelming numbers. And it wasn’t just birds – offshore you can see Stellar Sea Lions and Harbor Seals lounging on the rocks, and numerous Brush Rabbits hopping off the trail as we approached. Probably saw 20 of those little dudes. We even stepped past a Coast Gartersnake. So it was more like “animaling” than birding.
On the walk back, I looked out to sea and wouldn’t you know – thar’ she blows! Whales! Two northbound whales surfacing and spouting about 150 yards out. This is pretty late for the California Gray Whale migration, but they say at this time of the year you can see mothers and calves close to shore. Did I mention already that I didn’t bring my camera today? I missed out on some good pictures, but maybe, just maybe I ended up seeing more as a result.