I was in place this morning way too early; I didn't want to miss seeing the goose fly in. But I wasn't the first to be there. Another car with a single occupant was already parked there with its brake lights on because the driver's foot was on the brake pedal. I waited awhile then got out and listened to the sounds of the morning - the coyotes, all the geese quietly murmuring, a few Sandhill Cranes calling. And all the while it was getting lighter and Venus was fading away. Another car drove up and thedriver of the first car, Richard Messenger, a self-proclaimed nomad who had broken away from the r/v park in Arizona where he hosts, got out and introduced himself. The recent arrival was Kim Kuska from San Mateo. We all enjoyed the dawning together. A few geese were getting up and flying around, but not the one we were inteerested in. At about 6:22am Kim saw a single large dark goose flying toward us above the Snows and Ross's Geese that were beginning to move from a pond to fields to feed. The bird got closer, and then turned to the east (photo) and landed in a field where he was the only goose. Those with scopes trained them on the bird and confirmed that it was indeed the Taiga Bean-Goose. The long sloping bill with its characteristic pale band was easily seen as was the long thin neck, brown back, and orange feet. The head and neck profile is very swan-like. There were high-fives all around. A new year bird and an ABA bird. A group of three Greater White-fronted Geese joined the bean-goose. After we enjoyed several minutes watching the bird, it began to disappear into the grasses among which it was feeding. About that time a carload of four young birders arrived from Phoenix. It took a little patience but they all finally got to see it. It provided some espcially great looks after a harrier flew over the field and the goose walked up onto a little mound. In addition to the geese mentioned, we saw Brant, Cackling Geese, and the blue phase Ross's Goose which had been reported. The other photo is of a Loggehead Shrike that took to posing on a sign post which someone had used to display a glove somebody had lost.
About 9:00am I headed toward Long Beach to look for the Black-tailed Gull which was found last week, but which had not been regularly seen for several days. I had a little trouble finding the location, but when I did, it turned out to be a pretty neat place. I did see gulls (Western, Ring-billed, California, and Heerman's), but not the sought-after Black-tailed. There were also Marbled Godwits, Willets, Black-bellied Plovers, a Sanderling, Eared and Western Grebes. After a couple of hours of wandering around the area and convincing myself the gull wasn't there, I drove back to San Diego and got things together to fly tomorrow to Texas, where I hope to find one of the Crimson-collared Grosbeaks that have been reported recently.