Saturday, March 13, 2010
Estero Bluffs Revisited
I am glad that many of the birds I have needed for my BIGBY are up Highway 1 from where I live because it is a beautiful and very comfortable ride. The map of my green year, linked on this blog, shows how little I have gone south beacuse the ride north is so much more bike friendly and scenic. That will change in the fall when I will be bicycle-camping at Oceano frequently. Today, 3/13, I took the 30 mile round trip ride to Estero Bluffs Sate Park, and locked my bike near the San Geronimo Creek/Road pullout (at the windmill north of Cayucos) so I could hike out to the bluffs to look for the male Harlequin Duck and some Ruddy Turnstones.
When I do such bike and hike trips I empty what is left in my handle bar bag (after I take out my binos, my camera, and my cell phone) into my pannier and put the pannier into the day pack, that was in the pannier, so I can hike and leave no valuables at the bike. My handlebar bag locks to the bike and I put my bike shoes somewhere inconspicous so I can hike in running shoes I brought. I take the tripod from my rear rack and my scope from the pannier and I am ready to go.
There are several access points to the Estero Bluffs and this is my favorite because the trail here goes out along the creek, goes across a short beach and back up onto the bluffs to the north. The bluffs can be windy, but the beach below is often sheltered from the wind. One particular cove to the north of San Geronimo Creek is particularly sheltered and the rocks offshore protect much of the cove from the waves. Harbor seals haul out here on the many rocks. Mergansers, grebes and scoters feed in the relatively calm waters. This is where I found the Harlequin Duck (BIGBY#210) - basking beautifully on a rock not too far from shore. I ate an early lunch at this cove and enjoyed these birds as well as the turnstones, Whimbrel, oystercatchers, pipits, and other birds as well as the unusual rock formations, flowers (Blue-eyed Grass was out in bloom), and clear blue sky and great visibility after the prior evenings rain.
I never could find any Ruddy Turnstones. I had over 60 Black Turnstones and at least eight other shorebird species, but no Ruddies. I had only one new BIGBY bird and I will have to return to find the Ruddy and maybe a Wandering Tattler. Not that I need a reason to return to this incredible spot!