Today was day one of my all too short trip to California.
I drove to Phoenix last night, where I spent an altogether too short night. Awaking at 3am, I hopped on the highway and flew through the city and out into the desert. A call from my friend Neil alerted me to the presence of a Great Knot in San Diego. Not all that far south of my destination. I changed plans and headed to San Diego via the Salton Sea.
Arriving at the sea around 10:00, I slowly worked my way down the coast until I finally found 4 Yellow-footed Gulls at a random boat launch just north of Red Hill.
Having seen my target bird, I flew on through and arrived in San Diego around 2:00pm. The spot was a bit hard to find at first and then I had to walk about a mile to get there, but there were the birders. All clustered around scopes and cameras. All fixed on one subject. The Great Knot. Now, it should be known that there is some speculation that this is not a pure Great Knot. Many people think it hybridized with a Surfbird. If it did (we're still waiting for the verdict) it would be even rarer. in fact, so rare, that this would be the first documented occurrence of this hybrid. Still, a cool bird to see.
Then I hopped back on the interstate (this time I-5) and headed on up to my friend Neil's house where I'm spending tonight, tomorrow and tomorrow night. We'll be birding around Orange County tomorrow.
California is an interesting state with their own laws and their own customs. Here, you will see Surfboards strapped to the roofs of cars rather than skis or snowshoes. The balmy temperatures (conditioned by the cool breeze off the ocean) are a far cry from the super dry, oven-like conditions found in Tucson.
It's almost always sunny here too. People will welcome you to "sunny california." They're proud of it. :D
All in all, it's a cool state and has some great birding. Just, it's a bit hard to navigate. I've already gotten lost about 5 times...........