Monday, October 14, 2013

Yet another trans-continental chase (Blue-footed Booby etc) - USA #700, USA 2013 #500

Ask me how I managed to miss all the ex-Oporornis warblers in Central Park this year ?  Apart from bad luck (missing a Connecticut by 30 seconds) - it was that I did 7 birding trips.  Originally the plan was for 6, but I ended up doing yet another California trip in October.

In the face of a legendary invasion of Blue-footed Booby into CA from mid September into early October - somewhat galling in that they started turning up just after I came back from my CA pelagic trip -  I cashed in the last of my United frequent flier miles and flew to LAX.  I found Blue-footed Booby immediately the next morning at Playa Del Rey less than 5 miles from LAX, Black-vented Shearwater the following morning in a massive feeding flock off the Pacific Palisades, and Island Scrub-Jay in the afternoon at the usual location at Prisoner's Harbor on Santa Cruz Island.  Island Scrub-Jay was USA #700, but sadly not immortalized in photos since they were not cooperative.  I managed one whole day without another life bird, although that was the day when I saw TWELVE Blue-footed Boobies down in the Salton Sea, and then saw the recently added exotic Nutmeg Mannikin (USA #701) which turned out by coincidence to be USA 2013 #500.  This significantly exceeds my previous best for 464 for year, but 2013 was a psychotic traveling year.  On the boat to Santa Cruz Island I met a gentleman who was doing a Big Year and was in the 680's, so 500 isn't that big a deal by comparison.

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