Sequoia Audubon Society
                              San Mateo County, California

Field Trip Report

Marina Lagoon, Foster City
Sunday, October 24, 2010, 8:30am

I led a Sequoia Audubon walk today of Marina Lagoon (and greater Foster City - the parts where you didn't need to be more than 20 feet from the car). While being drizzled upon, my small but enthusiastic group had some great birds.

The level of the water in Marina Lagoon has not yet been lowered, so there were fewer birds than usual, however we were treated to at least 3 spotted sandpipers, a greater yellowlegs, belted kingfisher, stilts noisily and actively feeding, and at least 100 Forsters terns flying up and down the lagoon. Nine white pelicans were a treat. We watched them for some time swimming and feeding in unison. There were also brown pelicans along with a smattering of ducks - American wigeon, shovelers, and mallards.

We walked to the Port Royal ponds, but no hooded merganzers - just mallards, wigeon, coots on the newly redone ponds and black-crowned night herons in the trees.

Off to Belmont Slough off Sea Cloud Park. Not many shorebirds even though it was low tide - least sandpipers, avocets. As we began to walk back along the path toward Sea Cloud Park, Laurie Graham noticed a warbler in the fennel that looked different - PALM WARBLER. We were able to study it at close range for a very long time and often it was in the same fennel patch as yellow-rumped warblers for a good comparison. (Laurie will post more on this). At the lagoon next to Sea Cloud there was a red-breasted merganzer.

Off to the Shell Bar which was loaded with shorebirds - mostly willets, godwits, black-bellied plovers, least sandpipers, dowitchers (long-billed we thought) and a few dunlin. I wasn't able to spot any knots. There were lots of Forster's terns and about 6 elegant terns. Best of all were about 23 black skimmers all roosting among the willets and godwits. Maybe I don't visit the Shell Bar as often as I should, but I have never seen skimmers there. A real treat.

The wind and rain started to pick up so we called it a morning. A good time was had by all despite the rainy conditions.

— Leslie Flint, San Mateo

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