I spent the weekend out in Two Harbors on Santa Catalina Island - an island in the channel island chain. While the purpose of the trip was for fun and to visit old friends from my time working out there, I did get a bit of birding in on the beach. On Monday, after the big Buccaneers Days event was over and all the pirates had sailed for home, the isthmus was pretty empty. Apparently a large bait ball of fish had been using the boats for cover, and they were left exposed. ALL the birds from "Bird Rock" - so called for a huge colony of pelagic cormorants, gulls, and brown pelicans that live there - drove them into the harbor in a feeding frenzy.
A few people were on dinghy boats or kayaking when the birds descended and all they could do was watch and hope not to be landed on or worse while the flock was overhead! It was phenomenal to watch the huge flotillas of cormorants diving from the surface as the pelicans bombed down from above, and the western and Heermann's gulls drove the small fish onto shore to pick off. It finally died down and a friend, who had run out to swim in the midst of it and try for a few bigger fish that could have been feeding on the school, said that there was nothing left but scales raining down in the water. Amazing.