I had planned to take the off from birding today, for various reasons. When the report of Least Terns at Coal Oil Point came in, those plans changed. I left the house about 11AM and aided by a nice tailwind made the 12 miles to Coal Oil Point in 42 minutes. I spent 90 minutes searching the beach and this was the only Tern I could find:
After today the year's total still stands at 237.
Two problems here: 1) This is clearly too large for a Least Tern and 2) Obviously the bird is well and truly dead. It turns out the Least Terns were seen as late as 11AM, so I just missed them. I will definitely try again!
The consolation here was a pleasant visit with the Snowy Plovers. I counted 62 at one time. I love these birds. They have the cute factor and a serenity about them. There were also some other shorebirds around so I gave my camera a workout.
Snowy Plover - Immature
On the way home I kept an eye on the sky and the shoreline looking for Terns. There was a pair out in Goleta Bay that looked to me like Forster's but they were too far away to be certain - definitely too large for Least Terns.
I stopped at Goleta Beach, where there was a good selection of birds around. Among those were two Caspian Terns, an adult and a begging youngster. I do not believe I have seen a Caspian Tern this young before. Caspian Terns are the largest Terns in North America - definitely not the Least of Terns!
Caspian Terns - Adult (left) and Immature (Right)
Short-Billed Dowitcher. Thanks Nick for the confirmation!
Today I rode a total of 25 miles