I spent the middle of the day out birding with a couple of folks off the cruise ship who had contacted me about going out. We spent most of our time out at Starrigavan, where they were happy to get good looks at a decent-sized mixed flock of Surfbirds and Black Turnstones. During our time out there we also saw some mixed flocks of small song birds including chickadees and two or three warbler species. Song Sparrows seem to have increased in numbers in the estuary (I saw or heard several), and there were a couple of Lincoln’s Sparrows that popped up to check us out. In the end it was not anything unusual for here, but for a couple of birders from Southern California, there was some novelty.
One thing that struck me was the appearance of the Surfbirds. Perhaps I’ve never really seen (or paid much attention) to them this early in the fall, but I was surprised at how mottled some of them looked. At first I thought maybe they were hatch year birds that were going out of their first plumage, but after I had a chance to check on those in the books, that made less sense. I now think they are adults, though I’m not sure why they don’t still have the rufous coloring in the remaining summer plumage (or at least I didn’t notice any in the ones I got decent looks at).