A Last Look at Doran Beach

Although the fog had largely considerably by the time we walked Doran Beach, there was still enough left to blur anything in the distance. So, even though I could actually get closer than I could on our first visit when it was a bright, sunshiny day, the images are much softer (or, blurry, depending on your perspective).  

This Willet in winter plumage standing on one leg almost blends into the beach,

Willet standing on one leg

though not quite as much as this one actually lying down, something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Willet do before.

Willet Resting on Beach

It was foggy enough that this Marbled Godwit’s bright colors (see previous Doran Beach shots) seemed remarkably subdued. 

Marbled Godwit

By the time we finished our walk, the sun had finally broken through and these Turkey Vultures’ red heads and red legs were perfectly clear.   

Turkey Vulture on the Beach

Though it’s impossible to miss Turkey Vultures flying overhead in California, I had never seen them this close before (and at 80 I don’t particularly want to see them any closer).

Not far away, a small flock of Sanderlings hurried up the shoreline.

Sanderlings on the Beach

We also saw several of what I originally assumed were Horned Grebes, but when a California birder told me that she was trying to decide whether they were Horned or Eared Grebe it made me see them in a totally different light.  Most we saw were too far away to be positively identified, but this one was near to where we had lunch and was clearly an Eared Grebe in transition from winter to breeding plumage.

Eared Grebe in plumage transition

Eared Grebes are quite dramatic when in full breeding plumage, and that’s the only way I had ever seen them before, so I was surprised how much they look like Horned Grebes in winter plumage. A little research showed that although they breed in slightly different areas, they both overwinter on the California Coast, which may mean I’ve been misidentifying them for a while now.

What do you think?

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