Monday, April 16, 2012

Año Nuevo State Reserve (15th)

                                Año Nuevo Coastline
The reason for finding this reserve was because there were supposedly quite a few Elephant seals here, which was something that my mother was especially keen on seeing (though I think the sealions off the pier were enough to last her a few years).

This reserve was nearing Coastal Redwood territory, and would become a welcome change of scenery. Redwoods always remind me of Banana slugs, a peculiar slug that is bright yellow when young, but gains dark brown spots when it grows older in a pattern exactly like ripening bananas.

We made a stop at a rocky beach along the journey and it was certainly worth a look. In the surf just metres from the beach were (fittingly) a group of Surf Scoters. These remarkable ducks with extravagant bills really are something to see. It was not even comparable to the pin-prick sized flock I had previously seen, and even that is pushing it considering I could only just make them out by uploading the images on the PC and pushing the zoom as much as I could.

Due to the height and intensity of the waves about every other image looked like this.
You can't even see the other 3 female-type birds in this image.
 Also of interest was this long-awaited Caspian Tern. I assumed it was a Royal until I saw the images (I really need to check things more carefully...) where the scarlet-red and well-sized bill was more obvious. Caspians are amongst the largest of the terns, and naturally are one of the "Greater" terns. Many of the more well-known dainty species(genus Sterna for example) are typically less than half the size of these monster terns; if that isn't enough then all you have to do is compare the size of the bird to the Mallards behind it (and don't ask what these run-of-the-mill ducks are doing by a harsh rocky coastline with strong waves; they seem to get everywhere...).

Now that I had covered the interesting birds I had time to have a look at the area. The beach was mostly Whimbrel-dominated with a single Long-billed Curlew (not pictured, but I found it in one of my other images) which I wish I had known about at the time.

And surprise surprise another Mallard can be seen in this photo. Can you find it?

One of a few pale and probable Glaucous-winged Gulls.

                                Año Nuevo State Reserve
The atmosphere of the car park and visitor centre was comprised of a passerine song. The source, perched on the tip of a pine tree was a male Purple Finch. I have previously only seen two Purple Finches, but both were females.

About as purple as the red on a Reddish Egret. Was once eloquently put as "a sparrow dipped in raspberry juice" which is far more fitting.

A few swallows had appeared over the fields just by the car park. One happened to fly low and I saw a bright green; my nemesis and long-wanted hirundine; Violet-green Swallows. They only hung around for a matter of seconds, and it wasn't enough to get focused images, but the distinctive upper pattern was still visible in my images.

Someway down the path was a hole, and unlike the many other holes this one actually had something in it, despite my presence within a metre away. It was a...whatever it is. A pocket-gopher or something like that....Rodents are not one of  my areas simply because I have never found a resource.

Some pretty purple wildflower.
 On the way back I had some closer Swallows for better pictures, however these birds were brown on the back and had a brown smudge down the throat. My other nemesis hirundine; the Northern Rough-winged Swallow.
                                On the way back
American White Pelicans.

The Bicoloured subspecies of the Red-winged Blackbird is only found in northern California; it is not
something found in Los Angeles.

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