153 different birds

We took pills for seasickness at 5 AM, and we arrived at the San Diego Birding Festival to grab a bite to eat before we headed out to sea. Joe doesn’t do well on the water, but this was a huge opportunity for us to see pelagic birds, which stay out on the open ocean. Many aren’t visible from the shore, standing on firm ground, so it took getting on the boat if we were going to see them.

At 6 AM we made our way over to the boat with 40 other participants and 8 guides.

Even though we were there to see birds, one of the most thrilling sights was a group of bottlenose dolphins just below the water, which swam alongside the boat long enough for us to snap some photos.

So much for pristine nature. A brown booby floated by on top of a stray styrofoam cooler.

Our cameras weren’t good enough to get clear images of most of the sea birds. Taking photos of moving birds while we were swaying on the boat is not an art we have mastered. One of our guides on the trip, Matthew Binns, asked if we’d like to have a few of his images. Yes, please!

Here is Matthew’s photo of the rhinoceros auklet, a bird related to puffins and found most commonly in the northern Pacific Ocean.

The next day, back on firm land, we hopped on a small bus and headed out for an 11-hour epic birdwatching trip. The goal was to see 100 different bird species in one day.

We made over 12 stops at the ocean and marshes, parks, neighborhoods, ponds, and ballfields.

At El Monte County Park, a park ranger brought over an American kestrel for us to see from their education program. We snapped a quick photo and then got back to the search…. (Anyway, we’d already seen one of these birds earlier in the day, and we needed to find more species.)

Our guides, Raymond VanBuskirk and Steve Ritt, listened for birds calling and knew just where to look. All the while they were filling us in on information about what we were seeing.

We went strong from 6 AM until 5 PM when the search ended. How else could we have seen 131 different bird species in just that one day? A record for us! Add to that the birds we saw on our own, and other birds seen at the festival, and we ended with 153 bird species seen during our visit to San Diego. For us – that’s extraordinary.

 

March 2017

 

 

 

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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6 Responses to 153 different birds

  1. Beautiful photo of the dolphins. I agree, taking photos of birds is tricky.

  2. plaidcamper says:

    What a great day out – land and sea!

  3. Wow – amazing sights. Don’t you think birds are particularly difficult to capture in photos? So quick. I especially enjoy the photos that show the burr of action 🙂

  4. leggypeggy says:

    What an amazing opportunity—131 species of bird in one day. I’m gobsmacked.

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