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 56 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.
Common loon - several from pelagic and in Monterey Bay.
Red-throated loon. A tame bird in San Francisco Bay.
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.
American white pelican - one, pelagic.
Brown pelican - abundant along coast. First photo is of a group flying past Alcatraz Island.
Double-crested cormorant. Several along coast.
Brandt's cormorant. Abundant along coast. Juvenile below.
Pelagic cormorant - common along coast.
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.
Brant - one Elkhorn Slough.
Ruddy duck - Elkhorn Slough and offshore.
Surf scoter. Several on pelagic.
Red-breasted merganser - somewhere? Pelagic?
American coot - El Estero Pool.
Marbled godwit - Elkhorn Slough.
Hudsonian whimbrel. Near Cannery Row, Monterey.
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.
Bonaparte's gull - several, pelagic.
Ring-billed gull - several.
Mew gull - a few Monterey Bay.
California gull. A few, Monterey Bay.
Western gull. Abundant - by far the commonest gull.
Forster's tern? One, probable, Monterey Bay.
Elegant tern - common, San Francisco and Monterey Bay.
Common murre - hundreds on pelagic. This tame one in San Francisco Bay.
Cassin's auklet - several, pelagic.
Rhinoceros auklet - several, pelagic.
Turkey vulture - widespread.
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.
Belted kingfisher - one Monterey Bay.
Acorn woodpecker - a group around the cemetery at El Estero Pool, Monterey.
Black phoebe. Monterey and Point Lobos.
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.
Red-winged blackbird. Monterey.
Brewer's blackbird - widespread.
House sparrow - widespread.