Wednesday, March 3, 2010
March 3--2 Good Days of Birding
The last 2 days of birding have been quite good. I have been in northern California working my way from San Rafael thru Ukiah to Crescent City. Tuesday began with rain, so I decided to get a slow start including a swing thru St. Helena in Napa Valley to stop at Taylor's Refresher--one of America's top hamburger joints. It has been around for a long time, and has opened 2 more outlets recently in San Francisco and the town of Napa.
I ate here for the 1st time a few years ago, but that day I tried the ahi tuna sandwich. Yesterday I went for the classic burger with cheese and bacon. Taylor's burger comes cooked to order--medium rare in my case--on an egg bun with special sauce, lettuce and tomato. I also got the beer battered fried onion rings which were quite tasty. While I prefer a toasted bun, I would rate the burger as very good--a definite encore kind of burger.
From there I drove out to Point Arena under sunny skies to try to see a laysan albatross that has come into Pt. Arena cove every winter for over 15 years. Albatross's spend almost all their time at sea. It is highly unusual for an albatross to do what this bird has done for 4-8 weeks each winter for so many years. I tried to see this bird a few years ago with no success that day, and yesterday I also came up short. I did get to see a fine sunset before driving back to Ukiah. On the way out I found a group of bushtits--a new bird for the year. I took the top picture above which is typical of the northern Cal coast. I also stopped in at the Goldeneye winery in Anderson Valley to taste the just released 2007 pinot noirs. They were good enough to ship home a 1/2 case.
This morning dawned clear. I stayed in Ukiah overnite because I wanted to check out Lake Mendocino this morning for a possible tufted duck. A few years back I found 5 mixed in with a large number of greater scaup. Today I found all of 7 scaup and no tufted ducks. There were many birds along the lakeshore. I heard what sounded like the soft tapping of a sapsucker, and with some searching I located a fine looking male red-breasted sapsucker--another new bird for the year.
I then drove 3 hours thru some magnificent scenery including many huge redwoods to the Eureka/Arcata area. Birding at several locations generated 4 more new birds for 2010--mew gull, golden-crowned kinglet, wrentit and townsend's warbler. I finished the day here in Crescent City--not much of a place that snugs up against one of the most beautiful coastlines you can imagine. The sea lions pictured above were in the harbor.
So the bird count for the week is now up to 131, and the YTD total has reached 361. Tomorrow I will continue to work my way up the coast, seeing new places and lots of birds including hopefully some new ones for the year. Stay tuned!