Yesterday Brian Sullivan, Paul Fenwick, Cooper Scollan and I, attempted a Monterey County Big Day. We hoped to surpass the impressive county Big Day record set by Scott Terrill, Steve Rovell and John Sterling in 1999, of 208 species. We succeeded in this, tallying 217 species. All ABA count protocols were followed. Outside help the day of was neither offered nor accepted. No playback was used.
Unexpected rarities included: an alternate plumaged LITTLE STINT at Jetty Road, Moss Landing; a 1cy LITTLE GULL at the mouth of the Pajaro River; a 1cy LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at the Pajaro River Mouth and a nice alternate adult FRANKLIN'S GULL, also at Jetty Road, Moss Landing.
Besides these rarities, we had good luck with lots of rare migrants and breeders. Beginning at 1200AM, nocturnal highlights were duetting LONG-EARED OWLS,BURROWING OWL and territorial LESSER NIGHTHAWK. We even managed some night glimpses of stakeout geese: ROSS'S, GREATER WHITE-FRONTED and ALEUTIAN. After sunrise/daylight, we did well with scarcities in the upper Salinas Valley like BLUE GROSBEAK, NASHVILLE WARBLER, BELL'S SPARROW and GREATER ROADRUNNER. Arroyo Seco and the Carmel Valley had a nice male COSTA'SHUMMINGBIRD and a couple of BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRDS, along with multiple territorial MACGILLIVRAY'S WARBLERS. The outer Monterey Peninsula produced our only really surprising miss: Black Turnstone. At the PointPinos Seawatch,good northwest winds yielded lots of BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSSES from shore, but less diversity than we hoped for. Late, lingering, grebe and gull species were all still present in single digits from Monterey to Marina. Up in the Elkhorn Slough area, in addition to the above "red letter" rarities, we did well with YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, RED KNOT, late ducks (including at least seven REDHEAD), and a lone WHITE-FACED IBIS.
It was all great fun.