MCAS Field Trip Report - Montaña de Oro Bluff Trail – SEPT 14th

Pelagic Cormorant (L), Brandt's Cormorant (R) -- Photo by Ann Collins

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Photo by Steve Acheff

On September 14, twelve participants joined Mike Bush and Bob Revel for a two-hour walk on the Montana de Oro Bluff Trail. The morning was spectacularly clear and warm with no wind. We tallied 27 species with excellent looks at many of our local residents of the coastal sage scrub along the bluff. A Chestnut-backed Chickadee and three California Thrasher paused long enough for good photos.

Even though shorebirds have returned to the central coast in large numbers, very few shorebirds were present except for a Spotted Sandpiper (in winter plumage without the spots). We had excellent views of a pair of Black Oystercatchers and a great chance to compare two of the three Cormorant species that are typically seen along the SLO coast. The photo of a Brandt’s Cormorant (on right) next to a Pelagic Cormorant (on left) shows the Pelagic’s small thin bill, glossy iridescence, longer tail, and smaller size as compared to the Brandt’s.

Black Oystercatcher
Photo by Steve Acheff

We would like to thank the photographers, that are often on our Field Trips, for documenting the birds that we see.