When we finished our survey area, we drove over to Talbert Marsh and met up with a UCI grad student from Thailand, Pornpat Nikamanon, to check out the gull-billed tern being seen there. The bird is very cool, and has a clearly visible aluminum band on it's left leg, which Lena said indicated it had been banded in San Diego. County bird for Leigh, sweet!
Gull-billed Tern, Talbert Marsh
The three of us then headed to Hariet Weider for a quick check in, and finding nothing besides a kestrel on the hunt, and a very dry overlook that's usually filled with water, we headed north to Bolsa Chica Ecological Preserve. Bolsa Chica is a conservation success story, it was fought for, preserved, and then restored, and it currenty flourishing. While there we saw thousands of terns and gulls, endangered snowy plovers and least terns, as well as a reddish egret doing it's "running-crazy" foraging pattern.
Snowy Plover - endangered and too cute!
We ran into a birder friend of mine, Tom Wurster, without his usual partner in crime, Leiga Auzins. He needed gull-billed tern for the county, so after a quick walk out to the observation point, he and his companions headed to Talbert to catch the bird before they locked the gate. Overall it was a gorgeous day to be out birding, and I was very happy to help with the survey - hopefully I'll be able to help with the next one, which I believe was scheduled for October.
California Least Tern - endangered and cute!
When I spend such a beautiful day in the field, it reminds me how much I love Southern California, and how I will miss it when I'm in the UK. Hopefully I'll come back with lots of great photos, stories, and experiences - and come home a better birder than I left!
Bolsa Chica is an absolute photographer's delight - terns fly inches overhead providing a photographer with a plethora of opportunities to get cool shots =)