Sunday 3 July 2011

Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, LAX

Cabrillo Beach is the site where I first faced the dilemma of separating the little ‘peeps.’ A pier (Google Earth ref; 33 42’ 30”N 118 16’ 37”W) stretches out into the protected waters behind the breakwater. A fishing vessel was already pulling in nets and I realised that they must have been after bait to supply the fishing charters setting out from the harbour.

It was surrounded by Brown Pelicans, Forster’s and Elegant Terns and Western Gulls. It turned in tight circles and hauled in the nets a couple of times to the birds’ obvious delight. A couple of Western Grebes looked down their bills at the clamour and sedately continued with their early morning business.

Heerman’s Gulls roosted in a small flock on the beach, but were greatly outnumbered by the larger Western Gulls. A Forster’s Tern had been keeping track of 10000 Birds’ ‘Poop Week’ and was keen to make a contribution.

Elegant Terns rested on the floats of a static net. They are noisy even when they are taking it easy.

Close by is a small lagoon called Salinas de San Pedro (Google Earth ref; 33 42’ 49”N 118 17’ 07”W). This was once a prolific site and I used to spend a lot of time here when we used to stay in the area. At 07.00 on a Monday morning, the gate was padlocked, preventing entry onto the viewing platform (wouldn’t you know it). A small gap in the fence allowed me to see some Black-crowned Night Herons roosting on the balustrade, obviously not used to being disturbed. A notice on the gate said that the key could be collected from the aquarium when it opened.

The feral cats here are fed by a kindly if misguided soul. They also inadvertently provide for a family of Racoons. A mother and four kits (?), cubs (?), pups (?) were taking advantage of the free handouts while another adult with two youngsters gleaned for breakfast in the margins of the lagoon.
Back on the beach some immature Western Gulls were combing the waterline and making great reflections in the receding waves.

The Monday morning commute was building up and I had to get the car back to Long Beach Airport and then back to the hotel for pickup. Bus 111 runs back and forth from the Long Beach Transit Mall stop C. It is not as frequent as one would hope and takes about 40 minutes, so leave ample time for the return.

Birds seen; 19

Western Grebe 3, Brown Pelican 200, Great Blue Heron 1, Double-crested Cormorant 8, Snowy Egret 1, Black-crowned Night Heron 5, Willet 3, Heerman’s Gull 40, Western Gull 300, Elegant Tern 60, Forster’s Tern 12, Mourning Dove 3, Allen’s Hummingbird 1, Cliff Swallow 15, Northern Mockingbird 2, American Crow 10, Common Starling 20, House Sparrow 15, California Towhee 1.

Cabrillo Beach, San Pedro, LAX

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