Morro Bay Bird Festival: Boat Trip in Morro Bay Jan. 15, 2006 and
Observations at Morro Rock Jan. 14, 2006 (Peregrine Falcons, Oystercatcher, and People)

Boat Trip Event Description: ... A "Half Day Ocean Trip" associated with the Morro Bay Bird Festival 2006  was cancelled January 16,2006, due to high seas - so an impromptu substitution event was created - a wonderful birding cruise on the bay on the Dos Osos boat, lead by naturalist Marlin Harms.  Photos are by Mike Baird - click thumbnails below to enlarge (1-15-06 shots were all taken with a Canon 20D w/ 100-400 IS Canon lens with polarizing filter;  1-14-06 shots were all taken with a Canon 5D w/ 300 IS 2.8 Canon lens w/ 2X extender).  Note: Shown frequently below are multiple photos of the same subject.  This photo collection is not intended in any way to represent the totality of the observations made -- I have just included some photos that represented some topics and situations of interest.  Corrections and clarifications are always appreciated - please e-mail any comments to mike at and include "ignorefilters" somewhere in the subject line. 

Sunday, January 15, 2006. 
Our leader, local naturalist and expert birder and photographer Marlin Harms
first pointed out these Bufflehead , and then, much more important, the recently sighted
Long-tailed Ducks towards the north end of the sandspit. 
There was discussion as to gender (immature males?) and quantity.  Seen here are several
shots of the group we saw, which should allow some conclusions to be come to.
(103 KB)

The above was just added 1-15-06 9:30PM... a slightly more clear and less compressed image
(same photo #7131) (237 KB) of the above three subjects.

We had a nice view of Morro Rock

The Bay was alive with colorful birds.  Mergansers were fairly plentiful,
as were many Brant Geese

We saw two Ospreys. 
On the way south toward Shark Inlet, we saw this beauty on a boat mast where he had been
observed many times earlier this year.  He can be seen here eating the head off a fish

On the return trip north, this second specimen was observed (in view of the first subject) 

Marlin pointed out that if I couldn't get a good photo from this vantage I should consider "getting a day job" or something like that.

This Pelagic Cormorant had a nice perch on some buoys  .

Jack Beigle and Joe and Ann Dickerson led a kayak-based birding
tour at the same time and place as our motorized tour.

An alternative way to enjoy the above photos is to view them as a slide show at
(also here)


Saturday, January 14, 2006. The North Jetty on the south side of Morro Rock
was a playhouse of crashing waves, around which two magnificent Morro Bay Morro Rock Peregrine Falcons


9-5-06 a full-resolution (1659x1106) version of Peregrine Falcon image #1407 above, is posted below (L),
along with a Photoshop CS2 enhanced version (R), in response to a request from Sweden by
A full-resolution (1659x1106) version of Peregrine Falcon image #1407 taken Jan. 14, 2006, by Michael "Mike" L. Baird, at Moro Rock, Morro Bay, CA USA - -    A full-resolution (1659x1106) version of Peregrine Falcon image #1407 taken Jan. 14, 2006, by Michael "Mike" L. Baird, at Moro Rock, Morro Bay, CA USA - - - this is a Photoshop CS2 slightly enhanced version
Jan Lindblad jr, Nytorgsgrand 1, 611 38 Nykoping.  (jan at janlindbladjr dot com for use in a calendar for 2007
with photographs for a non government wildlife organisation in Sweden, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, "The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) is the biggest nature conservation and environmental organisation in Sweden with 170 000 members and 274 local branches across the whole country."

If you look closely, the bird at the highest elevation (below) has some prey in his talons.

Two Peregrine Falcons observer on the south side.  (Presumably two other Peregrine Falcons were about the north side or thereabouts).

A pair of Brown Pelicans flew west of Morro Rock in this dance. 
(This is not a manipulated photo).
Note: 1-19-06 - a better version of this photo is now posted on to

Two Black Oystercatchers were forced to scrounge closer inland than usual because of the wild wave activity...
so they were easy subjects for my camera located at the west side of Morro Rock about as far as one can walk and still avoid the talus.

Two  Black Oystercatchers 
(I know, I should have picked the one or two best shots and thrown all the others away)

Two young men foolishly climbed up about 35 feet over wet rocks  (the waves were crashing wildly this day - about as violently as I have ever observer in five years) at the extreme far west end of Morro Rock.  As you circle Morro Rock clockwise, the last wall at the water's edge is where these men ascended the Rock.  The images below show their two friends down below nervously scampering for safety as a massive wave starts to come in... while the two above found themselves totally engulfed in a giant wave that landed 10 feet above them.  They came perilously close to being dragged into the ocean and giving the photos below some real market value.  They were laughing and excited on the outside... I promised to send them these pictures to show to their soon-to-be-proud parents (ref. Dane Dky, Azusa Pacific University). home home home