ABA Update WI-WA-CA September 28, 2013

OK,  just got back, in many respects, it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. My ABA total rose to an impressive, well at least to me…606

First Wisconsin, went to Wisconsin Point on Lake Superior and then on to Brule and added of all things…a purple finch

purple finch 006 (2)

Out on Lake Superior I added a long-tailed jaeger which unfortunately didn’t get photographed by me, but I did end up in the middle of a Wisconsin Ornithology Society outing and they photoed it and identified it.  There were also many many Parasitic Jaegers about, they were quite close as was a lesser black-backed gull, the Sabine’s gull hid in the fog, everyone but me saw it, oh well.

Oddly, I was standing by someone that when I looked at him, I took a double take.  It was my old college advisor, Prof. Brooks retired from Ripon, whom I dedicated this book to……small world.

Off to Washington…..

I took a small detour on my way to San Diego, and spent an afternoon in Washington, I had a choice of two spots to find my crow…unfortunately, I chose poorly… Grays Harbor was not what I expected.  But at least the sun came out.  It was 51 in September, I felt like I was at home……but where the heck were the crows…..?

The most interesting thing I found was a Heermann’s Gull on the beach….it wasn’t much…but it was something…

heerman's gull 2

I kept trying to find the point, but alas, no, and then I tried to find sandpipers and then again no, and where was the crow?  Finally, I stopped to look at the signs, I was hopelessly lost, or so I thought….what street was I on?  Wait, there is a street sign up ahead…………….. northwestern crowThere just was something wrong with that sign…..it wasn’t that Protection Island road went a grand total of fifty feet and ended into the sea, it had my Northwestern Crow on it…..whew….the trip wasn’t a total loss.

I got hit on by a lonely business executive at the airport bar, but I was too busy eating to care, in my haste to find a crow, I had forgot to eat

Then off to San Diego.

I went to the Ft Rosecrans Cemetery with sketchy directions and found the reported Yellow-green Vireo despite of it, there was a grave marked “Spalding” under the tree maybe in honor of Tom Hank’s volleyball friend in the movie “Castaway”?  It was a good bird….and later on the coast….Elegant terns

then…..the next day despite logic against it, I went off back to the Salton Sea….it is said by many and especially by me, that one shouldn’t go back, it was like returning to the seen of a crime and with my bedbug bites still, yes still, itching, I turned on I-8 at 0410 in the morning in the general direction of El Centro, the asshole of America.

You know you are on a roll when you stop at the first spot on a huge lake, get out your spotting scope and see your quarry albeit over a half mile away, it took me an hour to actually figure out how to get there as due to the taking of the water, the shoreline has moved about a mile since they made the maps.

blue footed boobiez

But I got real close and got good photos of the blue-footed boobies a code 4 bird, there were seven on the rock, imbedded with a flock of cormorants.  They were immature birds, and for some reason only show up to the SW every ten years or so, and have shown up en mass this year.

I ran into a nice guy from New Hampshire who had came in to see the birds too..

back in San Diego, I lost my key at Salton and went to the guy at check in, covered in dust and carrying my long lens, when I started talking about by “partner” Troy who I was staying with, and after confessing I wasn’t in a committed relationship with him, I got hit on by him, maybe it was my roguish look, dust is the new sexy?  Maybe it was my long ..think lens….?  yeah right….all I wanted was a shower and my key and I wanted that alone but I winked at him and got my replacement key, Troy could remain jealous.

I added red-crowned parrots, pink-footed sheerwaters, black-vented sheerwaters, black storm-petrel and a wandering tattler to my list.

I should have seen them at Black’s beach, the famous and lovely nude beach but I didn’t feel like going back…by myself….I also sat a mile from DeAnza Springs Nudist resort a nice spot from my nude tour but alas…I got gas and a subway and drove on.

Here are some of the more common sights of the area…a black phoebe…

black pheobe


A California Towhee…. california towhee

The Coast Guard station at the end of Pt Loma, when the park above is actually open which isn’t for long, 10-5…..and it costs $5 coast guard station Pt Loma

A Western Gull….  western gull

I like San Diego….but this was a long trip, despite being upgraded to 1st Class, I was going to Florida next week but with my ABA year total is now 606, not to mention the 29 Caribbean species and 2 exotics…..and it just doesn’t seem to matter so I’m taking my clothes off, opening a beer, and hanging out with my wife…….I may chase a Sabine’s Gull in Minnesota but that may have flown the coup….



9 thoughts on “ABA Update WI-WA-CA September 28, 2013

  1. some excellent birds!! Some tough ones that are maybe once in a lifetime. And some more excellent stories. 606 is quite and achievement.

  2. Good for you, Olaf. I am going to miss these stories, but I feel badly for the guy at the hotel! He was likely singing that old song,” Why do you build me up, build me up, Buttercup Baby, just to let me down…” There’s something about birders with big lenses, and he didn’t know half the story!


    • Yea…..but sort of like winning a truck load of yarn, what to do with it all is the question and probably would know where to start if I did have it all

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