With a couple of hours to spare before we needed to be at the airport, there was certainly only one way to spend our free time: go birding!
We started off with an early morning seawatch at Point La Jolla. An hour and a half of scanning the horizon produced numerous highlights including my life Black-vented Shearwaters (eight in total), one Pink-footed Shearwaters, numerous Sooty Shearwaters, and a few close Black Turnstones.
Also present were many of our ‘lasts’ for the trip, including Herrmann’s, California and Western Gulls, Pelagic and Brandt’s Cormorants.
With time running out, we made our way north for a do or die stab at California Gnatcatcher.
The Torrey Pines Reserve did not disappoint, as we were able to come up with four California Gnatcatchers during a 50-minute visit, as well as our last Allen’s and Anna’s Hummingbirds, California Towhees, Wrentits and Western Scrub-Jays of the trip.
Our last stop of our California adventure was the nearby Torrey Pines Lagoon, where we were able to pick out a Royal Tern amongst our last Elegants. Other highlights included Long-billed Curlew and Whimbrel.
It had been an incredible trip, of which my dad says “was one of the best of my life.” I couldn’t agree more. The abundance of good birds, good people, good food and good times, combined to make this trip a complete and overwhelming success. My introduction to California’s unique avifauna is one I’ll never forgot, and one I’ll cherish forever.