San Luis Obispo County
all photos & text by Don Roberson
all photos taken in California
Luis Obispo is a large and diverse county on the central California
coast. It is traditionally considered the northernmost of "southern California"
coastal counties, and it does have long stretches of sandy beaches which
will recall Santa Barbara and Malibu. There is a large coastal estuary
at Morro Bay, guarded by impressive Morro Rock, which hosts a huge wintering
flock of Brant, as well as many waterbirds year-round. In contrast, the
flat, dry, alkaline Carrizo Plain in the southeast has a unique ecosystem
and is now a National Monument. Coastal ranges have extensive oak woodlands
and chaparral, and there are many vagrant traps adjacent to coastal cities.
Pelagic trips out of Avila Beach can garner a wide range of oceanic species.
Bald Eagles have been re-established as breeders at Lake Nacimiento in
the northwest corner of the county.
County birding statistics and links are on Joe Morlan's site. Extensive information on birds and birding in the county is on Mike Stiles' county birding web site.
| The photo chosen for San Luis Obispo County
shows an adult Glaucous Gull standing on the sandy shore as a huge bull
Elephant Seal lumbers ashore at its breeding site at Pt. Piedras Blancas.
I just love these sort of dramatic comparison shot, and especially when
it involves a bird and a mammal. What makes the photo even more special
is that I personally discovered this adult Glaucous Gull, which is a rarity
in California and especially so in southern California. Furthermore, adult
Glaucous Gulls are exceptional anywhere in the State, and this was apparently
the first ever of this age-class in this county. So not only did I enjoy
setting up the dramatic photo by choosing a photo angle, but the shot documents
an exceptional bird record. Below are a couple more closer photos of this
rare gull, showing the bill-head structure and the clear yellow eye, and
a stretching shot showing the tail and wings nicely. Note also the very
short legs for such a large gull.
|All photos & text © 2006 Don Roberson; all rights reserved.