Cruz Island, Dairy Mart Road Sod Farm
by Henry Detwiler
A day on the island with Suzanne, the girls, and Bob to look for the
Island Scrub Jay, and then a morning searching for
Red-throated Pipits way down south.
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
Our first good birds from the
boat were the two Pelagic Cormorants waiting for us in the harbor.
We left the dock shortly after 8:00AM and headed west. The sea was
calm and the boat was fast, so we made great time. A pod of dolphins
swam at the bow for a while, and when we were within sight of Santa Cruz
Island we were treated to a pair of Blue Whales spouting and
diving. Pelagics were slim, with an unidentified jaeger and distant
Becky, Suzanne, Adriana, Gaby, Erika
We dropped off a good number of passengers at
Scorpion Anchorage. A Black Oystercatcher sat on the edge of a
sentinel rock, and a Harbor Seal played in the kelp. As we
rounded the corner of the island, Royal Terns came into view.
The fog & clouds broke up a little, and sun filtered through to
warm us up.
It didn't take long for the first Island Scrub Jays
to show up after we landed at Prisoner's Harbor. They are
obviously accustomed to being fed, and were undoubtedly put out that
we'd failed to bring them tasty morsels from the mainland. After a
short orientation from the park ranger,
we set out for a walk.
Island Scrub Jay
Hiking up the canyon we looked
down on a few of the feral pigs which call the island home. Suzanne
continued up the hill while Bob & I explored some side roads. Some
of the birds we observed were: Golden-crowned & Rufous- crowned
Sparrows, Anna's & Allen's Hummingbirds, Say's & Black Phoebes, and
a Red-breasted Sapsucker.
American Kestrels, a
Red-tailed Hawk, and an Osprey were overhead. We missed any
eagles. Ravens were also quite common.
|Bob and I hiked to the end of the rocky beach, and
by clambering over the boulders, got decent looks at a flock of
Brandt's Cormorants. The trip back was on a much smaller
boat--no more whales, but we did see Black-vented and a
Great Blue Heron
|The next morning at San Joaquin Wildlife
Sanctuary Bruce Aird showed us his new Swarovski AT-65
spotting scope and Brunton
binoculars, while guiding us around the fine preserve.
A Pectoral Sandpiper and Wilson's Snipe made for fine birds to
Just before noon we reached the Dairy Mart Sod
Farms south of San Diego. After 15 minutes of searching, we
found the winter-plummaged Red-throated Pipit. Two
life birds in as many days!