Birds at Bolsa Chica Bay
With a few hours of free time this morning before I had to catch my flight from Orange Co., CA, back to Oregon, I took my son's advice and spent them at Bolsa Chica Bay a few miles north of Huntington Beach. Wow! That was good advice! Thousands of birds were there, most of them Terns. According to the local expert I talked with, there are five species of Terns regularly found there, not including the related Black Skimmer. The Forster's Terns and Elegant Terns were the most numerous, and I also saw quite a few Least Terns. This is definitely a place to which I hope to return when I have more time.
Elegant Tern with food item. Is it a fish or an eel?
Black Skimmer slicing the water in search of food
Black Skimmer from behind
There were also shorebirds at Bolsa Chica, including Short-billed Dowitchers (above), Willets, Marbled Godwits, Whimbrel, a Long-billed Curlew, a few Black-bellied Plover, and distant "peeps" that were either Western or Least Sandpipers. Of course, there were also Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets, such as the one below with a small fish. I've never seen or heard of Snowy Egrets with the brownish "smudge" showing in the shoulder area, so I think it might have been oil or dirt of some kind. This bird certainly had the "golden slippers" and the black bill of a Snowy.
Snowy Egret with small fish