Wednesday, October 15, 2008

MORRO BAY TRIP - OCT. 10-13, 2008

Morro Rock - View from Natural History Museum near Morro Bay State Park campgound.

Sometimes it's fun to travel a little farther afield to find 'the wild.' My birding pal Paula and I made a 4-day sojourn to Morro Bay over the weekend and camped at Morro Bay State Park. It is a well-kept and rather decadent camp compared to a lot of others I've been to; they have flush toilets and showers! We had a lovely site surrounded by trees and were able to do a fair amount of birding just sitting at the camp site. I had a few life birds this trip, too:
  • Virginia's Warbler
  • Brown Creeper
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Greater Yellowlegs
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • Fox Sparrow

The bushes were full of White-crowned Sparrows, whose lovely song filled the air. They seemed to be everywhere we went and they are not too shy, which made for some great photos. Also present around the camp was a large mixed flock of Brewer's and Red-winged Blackbirds. Their raucous dawn chorus was a real wake up call.

There was also a number of Turkey Vultures that roosted in the eucalyptus trees by night and took to the air as soon as the air warmed enough in the morning. The mornings were cold, so they often perched in the trees and sunned themselves until quite late. But as soon as the breeze kicked up and it was warmer, up they'd go, and circled the camp all day long.

View of the estuary from Black Hill, which rises to a whopping 635' behind the campground.

A nice old hillside pine sentinel.

Path through cypress trees below the museum.

Nuttall's Woodpecker goes upside down in search of bugs!

The ubiquitous Mr. Scrub Jay.

Turkey Vulture soaking up the morning sun. They roost in the trees until the sun heats up the air enough for them to soar.

Red-shouldered Hawk give me a look over the shoulder.

Long-billed Curlew in tidepool at Montana de Oro State Park.

Black Oystercatcher in tidepool - Montana de Oro.

Young buck sporting antler bumps. This youngster was hiding in a little gully back in the scrub along the cliffside trail.

White-crowned Sparrow - Montana de Oro.

Cove view - Montana de Oro.

Rocks carved by waves.

Rocks and crashing surf - Montana de Oro

Water-sculpted rocks and surf - Montana de Oro

More rocks and surf.

Field of scrub and eucalyptus grove - Montana de Oro

Sunset, looking towards the hills from the small boat harbor near the campground.

Red-shouldered Hawk perched above the field, hunting for dinner.
This was an outstanding trip to a place that previously I'd only driven through. The scenery was fabulous, the birding great, and the camping a really fun time.
[Composed while listening to the Polish progressive rock band Riverside.]

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