Sunday, July 28, 2013

Prairie Falcon Fun

Well, it finally happened. I was getting worried, but on 7/25 I finally photographed a Prairie Falcon. We were camping in Bodie Canyon. On the last butterfly survey round, I saw a Prairie Falcon in here but it was as I was driving and it was flying away from me. No chance for a photo.

This time, as I was sitting around our camp, drinking a beer and playing some Tower Defense on my iPhone, I heard a Prairie Falcon sounding off just up the canyon. Seconds later I was in hot pursuit. It didn’t take long to find it, but it flew around the corner of the canyon out of sight. Did it land? I rounded the corner and it made a pass right overhead. I rattled off pictures and let off a sigh of relief. It was great watching this bird soar around the top of the steep, rocky canyon, right where they belong.

Prairie Falcon
Only a short 5 days until my next pelagic trip out of Monterey. I can’t wait to get back on the water!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What's Next

Since I have some access to internet, I'll go ahead and do a quick update. I'll be working through 7/31. My next three-day break will be from July 1-3.

I found another pelagic trip that I somehow didn't see earlier. This one is out of Monterey on August 2nd. These early August trips have a tendency to do really well finding all three species of Jaegers, with frequent Skua sightings. Red Phalarope and Sabine's Gulls should also be around.

I'll spend July 1st looking for Bell's Sparrow and hoping for better pictures of Lawrence's Goldfinches. I'll also attempt to find a Prairie Falcon. The fact that I am still missing that one is astonishing to me, but I just can't find 'em! I'll spend the evenings looking for Western Screech-Owl and Common Poorwill.

After my break, I'll be working for about two weeks straight. Then it is back to Michigan for 5-6 days before moving to Minneapolis to start graduate classes. It will be a busy time for me. However, I won't leave Michigan without tracking down some southbound shorebirds that I missed in the spring.

This is my schedule for the next few weeks, and I'm looking forward to each day!

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Half Moon Bay Pelagic!

This past weekend I had the great fortune of attending a pelagic trip out of Half Moon Bay, CA. I had looked for pelagic trips that coincide with my wacky days off schedule but came up empty handed. Then I found Alvaro's Adventures ( run by, you guessed it, Alvaro Jaramillo. Their first trip of the season departed July 21st, a day I had off, so I quickly emailed Alvaro to make sure I had a spot on the boat.

I knew July 21st was a bit early in the season for a pelagic trip, but I've had good luck on other early season pelagics, and even the normal cast of characters would be new photo birds. As we made our way through the harbor, Surfbirds and a Wandering Tattler were fun to see. Once we got out a little ways we saw our first Sooty Shearwaters, of which there would be many more.

Our destination was Pioneer Canyon where there is deep, deep water. We were able to make it their without a problem.

On our way out, a Manx Shearwater was seen by most of the people in the back of the boat. By the time I made my way there, it was only a small shearwater on the horizon. This is a rare bird for California.

As it is late and I have to get up early for work tomorrow, I'll give you a quick run down of some of the highlights.

Alcids: We did well here, better than I expected anyway. Pigeon Guillemots and Rhinoceros Auklets were around, as can be expected, but we also found some Scripp's Murrelets. I personally saw at least 3 birds. One pair and a single bird on our way back. The pair was insanely cooperative. Common Murres and Cassin's Auklets were also seen.

Scripp's Murrelet

Scripp's Murrelet underwing

Rhinoceros Auklet
Albatross: There were Albatross EVERYWHERE! Once we got far enough offshore, there were constantly Albatross about the boat. The chumming and the "chum-sicle" helped keep the Black-footed Albatross near the boat, drawing the attention of other seabirds like this Laysan Albatross! Laysan isn't a common bird off CA and was a fantastic surprise.

Black-footed Albatross (and a Northern Fulmar) feast on the "chum-sicle"

Black-footed Albatross

Laysan Albatross

Laysan Albatross
Shearwaters/Fulmar: Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters were also very abundant and always around the boat. We also had a few really early Buller's Shearwater. Something is happening this year where they are showing up very early. I certainly didn't mind as this was a lifer for me. We had a few Northern Fulmar around the boat at times, but they were few and far between.

Buller's Shearwater

Buller's Shearwater

Northern Fulmar
Jaegers: The only Jaegers I saw were Long-tailed. I don't believe anyone else had any of the other species. In total, I saw at least 4 including a sub-adult with a very light head and very long tail-streamers. A cool looking bird. Here is a youngster.

Long-tailed Jaeger
Storm-Petrels: We had very good luck with Storm-Petrels. Ashy were most common and next was Wilson's! Wilson's Storm-Petrel is a darn good bird off CA and we had over a dozen of them. On our way back, we came across the mother-load. A huge flock of Storm-Petrels was sitting on the water and flushed as the boat approached. As they came past the boat, both Fork-tailed and a couple Black Storm-Petrels were seen mixed in with the Ashy and Wilson's. The Black Storm-Petrels were not cooperative and it is nothing short of pure luck that I was able to get a photograph.

Ashy Storm-Petrel

Black Storm-Petrel

Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel

Wilson's Storm-Petrel

I feel very lucky to get a spot on the trip and with the great birds we found. The leaders and Alvaro himself were great at making sure everyone got on the birds. The captain did an absolutely wonderful job of finding and staying with the birds. If you are considering a pelagic trip out of California, I'd suggest you look into Alvaro's Adventures!

I'd also like to thank those who have pledged for this photographic big year. When I started this big year, I had no idea what to expect. It is great to see people supporting conservation. If you haven't pledged there is still plenty of time, and all pledges are 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE! At the end of the year, all pledges will go directly to the American Bird Conservancy for Hawaiian bird conservation. See this page for more information.

It has been a great year so far, and there is still plenty of birding to do! Keep checking back for updates.

Half Moon Bay Weekend, Days 1 and 2

My work partner and I finished surveys a day early so we could enjoy a 4 day weekend starting on Friday, July 19th. I signed up for a pelagic trip out of Half Moon Bay, so I decided I'd spend some time birding areas around there. Heading west from Bridgeport, CA, my first stop was Frank Raines OHV Park. This is along Del Puerto Canyon Road, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Recent eBird reports suggested Lawrence's Goldfinches could be found here. It took me longer to get there than I expected and when I finally made it, the temperature was already pushing 90.

I parked the car outside the park and walked along the road. Lesser Goldfinches were singing, but no sign of the Lawrence's. Finally, while standing around wondering why I drove into the middle of nowhere for one bird, three goldfinches flew low overhead giving some very quiet calls that sounded interesting. I followed them to where I thought they might have landed. Eventually, one female popped up at a distance and I started shooting. Then, a male joined. I hate to use such horrible pictures of a great looking bird, but it was the best I could do.

Lawrence's Goldfinchs
I followed the slow-going, windy Del Puerto Canyon Road west toward my next destination. Although it seemed like it took forever to finally make it out, the area looked great for Prairie Falcon. However, it didn't happen.

After battling some traffic and driving some more steep canyon roads, I made it to Loma Prieta Ave south of San Jose. Bell's Sparrows and Black-chinned Sparrows are said to inhabit the very steep mountainsides. I worked a great area of the road in suitable habitat, but I couldn't find either. They can be tough this time of year, and I was looking mid-day in the blistering heat. Bummer.

I cruised to the coast and sea-watched for an hour from Pigeon Point. Some distant Rhinoceros Auklets teased me as they flew by. Most interesting, however, were the three Pink-footed Shearwaters I saw. I've never seen them from shore before, and only had one Sooty Shearwater. It just seemed odd, but I loved it. 

I camped and tried all night for Western Screech-Owls to no avail. I woke early and tried everywhere for Western Screech-Owls with the same result. Having missed Bell's Sparrow, Black-chinned Sparrow and Western Screech-Owl, it seemed like my luck that has been with me all year was wearing off.

Once again I drove to the coast. This time it was still very early in the morning and I sea-watched for 2 hours from Blufftop Coastal Park in Half Moon Bay. There was a smattering of Pacific Loons too far out for pictures with the fog. Once the fog lifted a bit, one of the loons was close enough to shore to get yet another horrible, but identifiable picture.

Pacific Loon
I was extremely tired and had slept horribly the entire survey period previous to this vacation, so I decided to book a cheap hotel where I relaxed and prepared field gear/food for the upcoming pelagic trip.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Red Crossbills

Even though Red Crossbills are around a few of the areas we work, they are sporadic and, before yesterday, I hadn't seen any. This is a species I wasn't worried about photographing out west as I knew I could get them in Minnesota. But, yesterday (7/17), while camping in Silver Canyon, CA, I had a pair that were very vocal, although less cooperative for photos. I haven't had the time nor resources to check what "types" of Red Crossbills have been documented out here, but I did take some recordings that I will send to the appropriate people.

Red Crossbill
Now, I'm off work for 4 days. Heading to Half Moon Bay and the surrounding areas. Will be birding all weekend, with a pelagic trip out of Half Moon Bay on Sunday. Check back soon!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Finally! Mountain Quail

I'm quickly running out of breeding birds to photograph in the western Great Basin. Two species have been tough for me to find and photograph. Mountain Quail are notoriously tough to see, but we hear (or heard) them all the time, especially early in the season. Prairie Falcon is another bird I have yet to photograph out here. For that one, I have no excuse...

Mountain Quail can be found more easily once they have young. Late summer/fall seems to be a good time to try to get a look at this bird when family groups can be found along mountain roadways. I kept a mental note of what canyons we have heard Mountain Quail in so that I could track them down later if need be. Recently, I've been hiking a lot after work hoping eventually I would run across this bird. Yesterday (7/15) it finally happened. As I was hiking along some prime mountain chaparral some young quail started freaking out and scattered down the mountain. The adult quail gave me a dirty look and flew to a downed tree. I was able to snap a few pictures off before they moved further down the slope. It took a lot of extra effort, but it felt great finally getting a look at this bird.

Mountain Quail
I have three more days of butterfly surveys, then another three day weekend. I'll be heading to Half Moon Bay and surrounding areas. A pelagic out of Half Moon Bay on 7/21 should provide some more photo opportunities. Pelagic birding is a favorite of mine, so I'm very excited about this coming weekend!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Devil's Postpile National Monument and Yosemite Birding

On 7/9, after work, my three day break started. I made a list of target birds I wanted to see/photograph this break in the Sierras. My time out west is running out and it was time to start cleaning up some of the gaps in my list.

On my way to the Sierras, I stopped near Mono Lake to look for Sage Sparrows. It wasn't long before I found them. They were quite active and had fledged young. Based on my location (and lowland saltbrush/sagebrush habitat) and comparing with the subspecies map in National Geographic, it seems this is likely the canescens subspecies. This is an important note as the "Bell's" Sage Sparrow will probably soon be split (any day now...) as a distinct species from the interior nevadensis. It will be interesting to see where "canescens" ends up.

Sage Sparrow canescens subspecies?
On 7/10, my first stop was Devil's Postpile National Monument. I chose the Rainbow Falls trail since it seemed like a nice hike and who can resist seeing a 101 foot waterfall? I was secretly hoping to find Black Swift by the waterfall.

Not far from the trailhead I came across my first new bird for the year; Pygmy Nuthatch. There were family groups all over the trail with somewhat recently fledged young. They look similar to Brown-headed Nuthatch, but their cap is more gray and there is no range overlap.

Pygmy Nuthatch
As I continued on, I kept an eye out for Williamson's Sapsuckers, but came up empty. I would have to search another location. Once I got to the waterfall, there were no swifts, which wasn't a surprise. There was, however, an American Dipper gathering food at waters edge and then flying up and disappearing behind the waterfall.

American Dipper
I had hoped things would be a little more birdy, but it was a nice hike and it was still early. A park host suggested I check out Sotcher Lake where "they used to go to look for woodpeckers". I was a little skeptical, but I had nothing better to do, so to Sotcher Lake I went. Wouldn't you know it, a few minutes into the walk I saw a male Williamson's Sapsucker high in a pine, mostly obscured. I snapped a few poor pictures before it disappeared. I then came across a female that was a little more cooperative.

Female Williamson's Sapsucker
Checking eBird, I found a place with a few recent reports of Black-backed Woodpeckers from the Owens River Road area. It was on my way north toward Yosemite, so I decided to poke around. I was pleased to see this location is where a burn had recently taken place. I've always had good luck with Black-backed Woodpeckers in burns. It didn't take long to hear some tapping, blowing the cover of this striking woodpecker.

Black-backed Woodpecker
I then hiked from just outside the eastern entrance to Yosemite to a ghost town called Bennettville. I had hoped to run into a White-tailed Ptarmigan, but had no luck. I did see more Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches, though.

On 7/11, I got up very early and made my way to the Yosemite Valley. I had a few destinations I wanted to check for Black Swift and Vaux's Swift. I got a little lost and ended up right near the western entrance to the valley. I saw a swift over the meadow, so parked and got out. Then, the floodgates broke loose and there were swifts everywhere. Dozens of Black Swifts and White-throated Swifts swirled through the air. It took a minute to find a Vaux's Swift, but during my time at the meadow, I had nice looks at a few (a long overdue lifer!). This was one of my favorite birding experiences this year.

Black Swift

Vaux's Swift
I had two more birds I wanted to find before leaving the park; Cassin's Vireo and Pacific Wren. I decided to hike the trail that leads up to Half Dome. It looked great for Pacific Wren. The trail was quite steep and the whole area looked great for both targets, but it was relatively birdless. Finally, upstream from one of the waterfalls, a Pacific Wren was putting on a show! It was singing  from a low perch and didn't mind the mass of people walking by.

Pacific Wren
These birds are similar to the eastern Winter Wren, but there is no range overlap. Pacific Wren is darker (more brown/ruddy in the throat) and with less barring on the flanks.

As I was watching the Pacific Wren, a Cassin's Vireo started calling in the background. They spent most of their time in the high canopy, but eventually worked their way close enough for a photo. Notice the yellow flanks and greenish/yellow on the secondaries.

Cassin's Vireo
I should also mention that, during work last week, I finally got photos/voice recordings of a Dusky Flycatcher. The recordings aren't great (none of them are, but that is what you get doing it from an iPhone), but they work.

Dusky Flycatcher

To me, the "sibip" call of the Dusky Flycatcher sounds lower pitched than Hammond's.

This was another incredibly successful break for me. It seems my original goal of 500 was set a little low.This "big year" has resulted in pledges worth over $3000 that will be donated to the American Bird Conservancy for Hawaiian bird conservation. Still plenty of time to pledge. Every little bit helps!

I only have two more breaks. On 7/19, after work, I'll once again head to the CA coast. On 7/21, there is a pelagic trip out of Half Moon bay that I have signed up for. If all goes well, this will be my last big slug of new birds before heading back east.

Before the weekend, I hope to finally get a photo of a Mountain Quail. The young are growing up fast and should be more obvious than they were earlier in the year. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Great Basin Keeps Giving

I've been working out here for about a month and a half now but there are still many birds in the Great Basin that I have yet to photograph, or even see! I hadn't had the luxury of surveying the Virginia Lakes area until a few days ago (7/7/2013). It seemed like every round something prevented me from surveying this high alpine canyon. Kevin and Jeremy, the bird guys, told me about Gray-crowned Rosy-Finches that sometimes can be seen at the top.

On their last survey, they only had a flyover. We got to Virginia Lakes a day before we had to survey, so I hiked up to the top hoping to get lucky. I had visions of trying to snap a few pictures of a Rosy-Finch as it flew high overhead, praying one would be in focus. I wasn't prepared for what happened next.

As I was trying to photograph little Skippers (butterflies) I heard wings whizzing past me from behind. Upon turning around, a Gray-crowed Rosy-Finch had landed only feet away from me and was calmly foraging on the ground in the meadow. Another joined it. I sat for at least a half hour while these two birds surrounded me. It was magical.

Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch
Today, while surveying Cottonwood Canyon in Nevada, we stumbled into a ton of Greater Sage-Grouse. We knew they were here, but until today (7/9/2013) we hadn't seen or heard them at all. We ran into at least three females with older young. However, when I'm surveying butterflies, I rarely carry my long lens. Instead, I carry my 90mm macro. I was able to snap photos of this female with young from the car as they would just not get out of the road. Maybe better quality pictures next time.

Greater Sage-Grouse
These can be told from the Sooty Grouse by their long pointed tails. If you could see the front of the female, you would see a black belly. The Greater Sage-Grouse is also much larger than the smaller Gunnison Sage-Grouse. Also, I'm not anywhere near the Gunnison Sage-Grouse range.

Phew, I was getting a little worried about the Grouse.

Now I have three days off and will spend them in the Sierras cleaning up my Great Basin birds and enjoying some beautiful scenery. What will #500 be?

Great birding!

Monday, July 8, 2013

One From the Past

I was digging through some files the other day and came across pictures of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher I took at Magee Marsh, Ohio back in May. I wasn't sure if I would use them or not. However, after looking at the pictures, the bird can be easily identified even without a recording, in my opinion.

No other eastern empid has a yellow throat, which this bird clearly shows.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
The bird also shows the small bill, long wings and yellow/green back characteristic of Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. Count it!

Don't forget, the goal of this photo big year is to raise pledges for American Bird Conservancy's work with endangered Hawaiian birds. Many generous donors have already contributed (thanks!). There is still plenty of time to contribute. Check out this page here.

Coastal California- Final Day

Day three ( 6/30 ) of our coastal California adventure started bright and early. Kevin and I packed up camp and headed straight for Happy Canyon Road where Yellow-billed Magpies are said to exist. It didn’t take long at all before we found some adults and juveniles feeding in a field amongst cow pies. It had been 6 years since I last saw this bird.

Yellow-billed Magpie
We were quickly running out of target birds and it was still very early in the day. We decided that we could detour a bit out of our way for Chestnut-backed Chickadee. The first place we checked, with a recent eBird report, was a bust. There weren’t even any trees there, so I have no idea why there would be a chickadee there…

The second place we checked, Miguelito County Park, actually had some trees. A good start. We birded and eventually picked up on one Chestnut-backed Chickadee that wasn’t all that cooperative.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
While searching for the Chickadee, we had been hearing Band-tailed Pigeons calling nearby. We started searching for them and had one fly overhead. We followed it to a tree where we found a small gathering of Band-tailed Pigeons in horrible light. I wasn’t complaining, I had been trying to photograph this bird for a while and missed it in Arizona.

Band-tailed Pigeon
As we headed back toward Santa Barbara, our last stop was Devereux Slough where Lawrence’s Goldfinches had been reported a few days back. They were said to be associating with American Goldfinches, which we found, but the Lawrence’s were not. However, a ton of Snowy Plovers were here, another lifer for Kevin. We were both pretty exhausted by this point, so we drove to Santa Barbara and hit the beach. After cooling off in the ocean, we killed some time in town and called it a night. Kevin had to fly back to Michigan in the morning and I had to start the long drive back to Hawthorne, Nevada to get back to work. This trip was a huge success with relatively few misses. Those "misses" I can pick up on my next few days off.

500 is just around the corner and is no longer an “if”. I think it is time to set a new goal. How about 550…?

Coastal California- Island Scrub Jay Tour

Day two (6/29) of our California trip was one Kevin and I were both very much looking forward to. We signed up to go out with Island Packers to Santa Cruz Island where we hoped for Island Scrub-Jay. However, I think I was more excited for the boat trip to and from the island than actually birding the island. Pelagic birding is perhaps my favorite kind of birding, and I just don’t get to do it enough.

We woke early and hit the Ventura harbor hoping to pick up some cormorants, shorebirds, and terns. We did well on all accounts, seeing Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorant, a bunch of Elegant Terns, three Surfbirds, a Ruddy Turnstone and a smattering of Whimbrel. I couldn’t get any pics of the Brandt’s or Elegant Terns as they were too far out, but I knew we would get them from the boat.

It was time to check in with Island Packers, so we got our boarding passes really early and went to get some coffee to combat the drowsiness brought on by Dramamine. We got more than we bargained for as we witnessed a very hostile man nearly fight another man just for asking “how are you this morning”. But I digress…

Finally we boarded the boat and secured front spots on the bow. There wasn’t any competition. Elegant Terns flew overhead as we made our way out of the harbor. Brandt’s Cormorants were loafing on the rocks.

Brandt's Cormorant (showing pale throat patch)

Elegant Tern
As we made our way toward Santa Cruz, the ocean was relatively birdless. But, we started seeing a few distant Sooty Shearwaters that sparked our hope. Then it happened. A huge flock of Sooty Shearwaters was seen loafing on the water while others were busy feeding. Then we spied some close Pink-footed Shearwaters. I told Kevin to keep an eye out for Black-vented Shearwaters and it wasn’t long after he shouted “Black-vented!”. Birds (and dolphins) were everywhere. Lucky for us, the captain slowed the boat and all the passengers enjoyed the show.

Sooty Shearwater
Pink-footed Shearwater
Black-vented Shearwater (left) with Pink-footed Shearwater

In with the frenzy I also photographed Western and Heerman’s Gulls.

Western Gull

Heerman's Gull

We felt really lucky to get all three Shearwaters so easily and with such great looks. Once we started heading for the island again, the activity really died. However, we did get on two Cassin’s Auklets which seemed pretty close to shore, but I haven’t seen many so perhaps they are to be expected. I scrambled to take a few distant shots.

Cassin's Auklet
With such a successful boat trip to the island, we were excited when we hit land. Prisoner’s Harbor is the place to be if you want to see Island Scrub-Jay without too much trouble. We hiked around a bit, seeing and hearing a few distant Scrub-Jays. After we ate lunch, we found a much closer Jay. Success!

Island Scrub-Jay
It was REALLY hot, so we jumped off the docking pier into the water a few times until the boat came back to pick us up. On our return trip, we saw much of the same stuff, plus a bonus Common Murre. By the time we got back to the mainland, we decided we needed to head toward Santa Barbara once again. There were still plenty of birds to be seen that we had yet to come across like Yellow-billed Magpie or Chestnut-backed Chickadee. We set up camp just north of Santa Barbara and called it a night.

Coastal California- Day 1!

White-tailed Kite
My friend Kevin Welsh and I just got back from coastal California. I had a rare four day weekend and Kevin just finished his field job, so on June 27th after work we departed for Los Angeles. On the 28th, we woke up after only a few hours of sleep and headed straight for Bonelli Regional Park in Los Angeles where an Arctic Loon has been hanging out for over a month. It took us a minute to find it as it was tucked back in a cove with a bunch of Western Grebes, but once we did, it showed very well.

Arctic Loon
We decided to keep birding Los Angeles (our original plan was to bird Santa Barbara) so we chose Carbon Canyon Park as our next location. A somewhat recent report of California Gnatcatcher was enticing enough, and even though we had no idea where to go once we got into the park, we did very well. Wrentits were abundant and vocal.

California Thrashers were looking very ratty, but at least they were around. These were my first this year.

California Thrasher
While watching the Thrashers, Kevin and I couldn’t believe our ears when we heard a California Gnatcatcher calling nearby. A little investigating revealed this not-so-shy Gnatcatcher. This was great luck as I was expecting we would have to work harder and check more locations to find this bird.

California Gnatcatcher
After leaving the park, we checked a few locations for Band-tailed Pigeons and Red-crowned Parrots but we struck out. We did pick up Hutton’s Vireo, though, so it wasn’t all a bust.

Hutton's Vireo
It was about this time that we were getting pretty tired of the Los Angeles traffic, and Los Angeles in general. I would compare it to birding in Miami looking for exotics which I just do not enjoy at all. However, we still had one more target in Los Angeles before we could leave; Spotted Dove.

The Spotted Dove is becoming harder and harder to find in California as their population continues to decrease. However, Newell Street in Huntington Park, Los Angeles is supposed to be a good spot to find them. As we battled stop and go (mostly stop) traffic, we drove further and further into the ghetto. When we got to the street, things were getting pretty shady and it didn’t seem like getting out of the car was a good idea. Luckily, a Spotted Dove was wandering around a front yard. It then flew into a tree where I quickly photographed it and got the heck out of there.

Spotted Dove
We started heading for Santa Barbara but with the never ending traffic, it took us hours to get there. We had set a time to meet a local birder, Noah Gaines (, at his house in Santa Barbara, and we somehow managed to arrive right on time. I had contacted Noah after seeing his post about a Costa’s Hummingbird coming to his feeder, a bird I just couldn’t seem to find this year. He graciously opened his place to us. We had an amazing time watching his two hummingbird feeders that had an insane amount of hummingbird activity. Anna’s Hummingbirds were everywhere, zipping in and out. Black-chinned Hummingbirds were also around, but less abundant. Finally, the Costa’s appeared briefly. Score!

Costa's Hummingbird
Allen’s Hummingbirds are also common in coastal California in the summer. Rufous Hummingbirds only occur here in migration. I took a few photos of a male Allen’s at Noah’s house, but had hoped to get better photos later. It never happened, so this will have to do for now.

Allen's Hummingbird
It was getting late, and Kevin and I had a boat to catch in the morning in Ventura, so we drove back that way and found a place to camp. This was a very productive day and a great way to start the trip. The next morning we were to go out with Island Packers to Santa Cruz Island, which turned out to be even better than we could have hoped!