Saturday, March 27, 2021
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
More of the same around here at the moment! I've been venturing farther afield since birding my local Coyote Point Park is so depressing right now; a big chunk of the park is ripped up for levy improvements. It's incredibly frustrating on top of the Foster City closure (2 damn years!). It seems the entire San Mateo bayshore is under construction. Why can't they do one place at a time, do it fast, then move to the next? So dumb. Anyway, let's get into my recent adventures.
California Thrasher (CATH), San Francisco, March 4th
Common in my home San Mateo County where its preferred chaparral is more widespread, CATH is quite rare in the more developed confines of San Francisco to the north; eBird suggests it ~annual with 4-5 records spread across the last 4-5 years. A couple stuck around for a while in 2018, but I wasn't invested in those sightings because I'd seen the bird in San Mateo and hadn't starting listing for the other, individual counties at that juncture. Wondering if I'd get another crack at CATH in SF, I was happy to learn about one at Candlestick Point at the end of February. I couldn't make time for a pursuit until March 4th, shocking as the bird was less 15 miles from my apartment (an hour's ride), but I was happy to find it kicking around the same area it had spent the previous week. I forwent the scope in favor of the DSLR on this occasion, that decision validated when the bird allowed close approach!
Nocturnal birds present another level of bike-birding challenge because riding at night comes with additional dangers versus riding during the day. My wife lets me get away with it close to home, but neither of us wants me riding significant distance - like over the coastal mountains - after dark. So, chasing a continuing COPO in Montara required more logistics than usual, specifically an overnight in Half Moon Bay.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG), Santa Clara, March 14th
I left at first light and hauled ass south. Making tracks through Palo Alto, I glimpsed four geese flying towards me as I zipped by the Renzel Wetlands. Three were standard Canadas, but the final was a comparatively-tiny Cackling Goose (CACG). That species had eluded me in Santa Clara as far as the bike was concerned, so it was a nice bonus en route to Alviso. Santa Clara bike bird #223 - woo hoo!
Reaching that destination 1 hour 52 minutes after I left home, I bumped into Santa Clara stalwarts Matthew Dodder and Bob Reiling who said they had the 1st cycle LBBG ten minutes before I arrived. The three of us were unable to relocated the bird, but it flew in for me 90 minutes later. A quick digiscope snapped - light head, dark body, black bill, long wings, slender appearance - it was time to head home ahead of approaching rain. I bombed up the bayshore, but traffic lights crushed me once I rejoined the sprawl; I had to stop more times that I cared to count. Regardless, the return ride took 1 hour 56 minutes, a solid 45 minutes faster than when I need to ride into NW winds to get home.
Bay Area bike bird #331. Santa Clara Bike bird #224.
So, two outta three ain't bad. I've been doing a bit more photography lately, so maybe I'll go with an image-driven post the next time around. Cheers!