Sunday, January 17, 2010

Spring Has Sprung?

The first wildflowers (like this Milkmaid) are blooming, the finches and sparrows are eating willow buds, and the first Allen's Hummingbird has returned. Spring must be near? No, I am living in coastal southern California and it is January 17. We do have four seasons (honest) - wet (winter), windy (spring), foggy (summer), and dry and mostly sunny (fall). It is wet now and all of the above things are happening.
I dash out to the seabird lookout (see map) at Montana de Oro on my bike - to get some birding in before the approaching storms. I pedal and a neighbor birder and his beginning birder friend meet me in their car. It is a beautiful spot, but the wind and prolonged observation of different colored specks that have different shapes and flight patterns is not the stuff to excite a beginning birder for long. Pacific Loons are streaming by to the south with Common Murres and a Rhino Auklet (new BIGBY). A nearby otter eating shell fish on its stomach and being harassed by a Western Gull provides some entertainment. We leave after less than an hour to try a quick hike at Coon Creek where it begins to rain and the birds are quiet. I then experience one of the downsides of bicycle birding - pouring rain.

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