It has been a while since I have added any posts to my Carbon Free Big Year but as of late there have been some new sightings. Back on June 30th, I thought that I would give the ocean a once over and I was well rewarded, however not by birds. I no sooner set up my scope and began to scan the large swells that had piled up that day and much to my delight produced a beautiful Sea Otter!!! This is only the 4th Sea Otter that I have seen in Marin County. This large adult was perhaps a half of a mile out and was swimming quickly to the north. Interestingly, the animal would rise as high as it could out of the water as each large swell peaked and it would take a quick look around from its momentary “lofty view”. It would the swim on and reappear as each large swell lifted it up again and again. Not five minutes later I was again thrilled as a Gray Whale passed by also heading north. These were both new mammals for my big year, bringing me to 21 species.
Yesterday I got a call from Jim White over there in Muir Beach to report that he had heard and seen a White-eyed Vireo! Well, with the day near the end I wasn’t able to ride my bike there but did drive over and got to see this very rare species. this was only the second one that I have ever seen in California. Upon my return I needed to do some house work and before I got started I scanned the mud flat on the Bolinas Lagoon and just about flipped when low and behold, there was a striking bird standing there with all of the Caspian Terns. It was a Black Skimmer, (#203) in all its ill-proportioned beauty. Not a bad day!