Today was an interesting day, and I covered more than 64 miles on the bike - a far longer distance than I have ridden on any other day thus far on the Green Big Year.
I started out heading to Carpinteria in the morning, hoping perhaps to see an Oystercatcher. There were none of those to be found, but I did see some Black-crowned Night Herons out on the rocks which was new to me. I also found a couple of Ash-throated Flycatchers hiding in the blooming mustard.
I decided to head home via the foothills and get some exercise. After climbing a bunch of hills I arrived home with 40.1 miles behind me.
No sooner did I change out of my biking clothes did I see an email from Maggie - "There is a Least Tern at Devereux Slough mouth." I had not yet seen a Least Tern anywhere, so this was very exciting news! I changed clothes again, hopped on the bike, and made haste for the Snowy Plover Reserve where the Tern had been spotted. (Note, this is only a few miles down the coast from the site of yesterday's oil spill at Refugio Beach. I hope the oil slick can be contained!) As I raced there I was cursing the light headwind and also all of the hills I had climbed in the morning.
1 hour and 10 minutes after the email arrived I was off my bike and heading for the beach where I ran into Tom, Maggie's husband. He had a bit of a disappointed look on his face. I asked him "Did the Tern Leave?" He said no, then showed me a photo on his camera. The basic field marks for a Least Tern were there, but the bird looked a little stiff and smooth, its single leg was oddly straight and thick - suspiciously similar to a dowel:
Tom said "Perhaps Maggie went for a walk with the baby and did not take her binoculars, or perhaps the one she saw was attracted by the decoy." I told him I would check it out and let him know if I saw any live Terns.
I found 3 decoys but no live Terns. Nevertheless it was nice to visit with the Snowy Plovers. I was hoping to see some youngsters, which are just about the cutest thing around. I did not see any today but include a photo from a couple years ago. There were also some Sanderlings in spiffy breeding plumage.
As I said at the beginning of this post, an interesting day.
Some photos from today:
Black-crowned Night Heron
Cliff Swallow, collecting mud for nest building
Sanderling, breeding plumage
Snowy Plover, May 2013
Brown Pelican (Adult on left, juvenile on right)
After today the year's total still stands at 228.
Today I rode a total of 64.6 miles