“Foggust” 19, 2013

A frenzy of birds   Photo by John Dumong

A frenzy of birds                   Photo by John Dumong

“Foggust” is the month after July and the one before September. We have another week and a half and it would be nice to squeeze in a couple of days of sunshine out of this month. If not, we always have September and “Indian Summer” to look forward to. The fog has obscured what little falcon activity there has been. They leave early and don’t return until midday, sometimes not at all. Other days they might both be there at 10 AM and sit in a hole all day facing the back wall.

All of the excitement seems to be on the water. For the past two weeks, we’ve had thousands of brown pelicans in and around Morro Bay. A lot of them young juveniles, sick and dying.* Today the large body of water inside the harbor entrance and the inner harbor near the Coast Guard Station was inundated with thousands of birds in a feeding frenzy. Gulls, terns, cormorants and pelicans turning the bay into a frothing cauldron. Sea lions and harbor seals pushing up the giant school of sardines and anchovies so the birds can dive upon them leaving plumes of water after hitting the surface from a 30 foot dive.

Thousands of pelicans sit on the jetty and line the shore waiting their turn to feed for there is no room in the sky. It is spectacular to watch. After every big mêlée there are one or two injured birds, usually gulls from so many pelicans falling from the sky at one time only to return to the sky to circle counter-clockwise and dive again.

Thanks to John Dumong for his photo of the birds. You must realize that all of this cannot be captured by one or two photographs. It is happening all around Morro Bay, all at once, and with many schools of bait.

Happy trails, Bob

* Pacific Wildlife Care volunteers have told me that the condition of  the young juveniles who are sick and dying is due to starvation. The young lack knowledge of feeding skills and there had been a bumper crop of young.

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