November 2015

Between 24 October and 1 November I was in California. I spent two nights in San Francisco before heading to Monterey for the North American Symposium on Bat Research. I had a wonderful time in great weather, and saw some tremendous wildlife. I saw the San Francisco sealions. I went kayaking in Elkhorn Slough, getting very close to sea otters and harbour seals. A whale watching trip off Monterey was memorable, with a pod of several hundred common dolphins, about 50 Risso's dolphins, and about 6 humpback whales. There were good seabirds too. I went to the monarch reserve in Monterey, and finally to scenic Point Lobos. Photos taken with 1D4 and 400mm lens.

Golden Gate Bridge


Common loon - several from pelagic and in Monterey Bay.

Red-throated loon. A tame bird in San Francisco Bay.

red-throated loon

red-throated loon

red-throated loon

Western grebe - one, Monterey Bay.

Eared grebe - Elkhorn Slough, Monterey Bay, El Estero Pool.

Pied-billed grebe - El Estero Pool.

Black-footed albatross - one, pelagic.

Northern fulmar - several, pelagic. Mainly dark-phase birds.


Sooty shearwater - one, pelagic.

Black-vented shearwater - abundant from pelagic - more abundant than usual because of El Nino.

black-vented shearwater

black-vented shearwater

black-vented shearwater

American white pelican - one, pelagic.

Brown pelican - abundant along coast. First photo is of a group flying past Alcatraz Island.

Brown pelican

Brown pelican

Brown pelican

Brown pelican

Brown pelican

Double-crested cormorant. Several along coast.

Brandt's cormorant. Abundant along coast. Juvenile below.

Brandt's cormorant

Pelagic cormorant - common along coast.

pelagic cormorant

Snowy egret - several along coast.

Great egret - one Monterey bay.

Great blue heron. Several.

Canada geese. Flock at El Estero Pool.

Aleutian Canada Goose? One bird at El Estero Pool fitted the description.

Aleutian Canada goose?

Brant - one Elkhorn Slough.


Ruddy duck - Elkhorn Slough and offshore.

Surf scoter. Several on pelagic.

surf scoter

Red-breasted merganser - somewhere? Pelagic?

American coot - El Estero Pool.

Marbled godwit - Elkhorn Slough.

Marbled godwit

Hudsonian whimbrel. Near Cannery Row, Monterey.

Hudsonian whimbrel

Long-billed curlew - 10's Elkhorn Slough.

Willet - scores, Elkhorn Slough.

Red-necked phalarope - one on pelagic.

Black turnstone -several on rocky coastal areas.

Least sandpiper - several, Elkhorn Slough.

Heerman's gull - 10's San Francisco and Monterey.

Heerman's gull

Heerman's gull

Bonaparte's gull - several, pelagic.

Ring-billed gull - several.

ring-billed gull

Mew gull - a few Monterey Bay.

mew gull

California gull. A few, Monterey Bay.

California gull

Western gull. Abundant - by far the commonest gull.

Western gull

Forster's tern? One, probable, Monterey Bay.

Elegant tern - common, San Francisco and Monterey Bay.

elegant tern

Common murre - hundreds on pelagic. This tame one in San Francisco Bay.

common murre

Cassin's auklet - several, pelagic.

Rhinoceros auklet - several, pelagic.

Turkey vulture - widespread.

turkey vulture

Sharp-shinned hawk - one near Cannery Row.

Feral pigeon - abundant.

Great-horned owl - one Monterey Plaza Hotel, seen from conference drinks session.

Anna's hummingbird - several Monterey and San Francisco.

Anna's hummingbird

Belted kingfisher - one Monterey Bay.

Acorn woodpecker - a group around the cemetery at El Estero Pool, Monterey.

Black phoebe. Monterey and Point Lobos.

black phoebe

Scrub jay - several.

American crow - widespread.

Wrentit - one, Point Lobos.

Chestnut-backed chickadee - one, Point Lobos.

Ruby-crowned kinglet - one, Point Lobos.

Starling - common.

Yellow-rumped warbler - San Francisco.

Townsend's warbler - San Francisco.

Dark-eyed junco - Point Lobos.

White-crowned sparrow - widespread.

white-crowned sparrow

white-crowned sparrow

Red-winged blackbird. Monterey.

Brewer's blackbird - widespread.

House sparrow - widespread.

Whales, dolphins, pinnipeds, sea otters and monarchs

January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015