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La Jolla Cove, May 13, 2020

Went to the Cove for the first time in about 3 weeks from 11:00-12:00 this morning. While Ellen Scripps Browning Park and the adjacent seawalk are still off-limits, the path from the Cave Shop to the stop sign, and from south of ESB Park are open. The little walkway pullouts south of the park are no longer cordoned off, so it is possible to sit on the concrete wall and scope while sitting, or to stand there and be off the main path. This is a good thing because of the roughly 200 people whom I saw during this period, 2/5 were not wearing masks and the concept of social distancing seems to be an idea far too abstruse for them to handle.
Started across from the Brockton Villa, then moved south to just north of Children’s Pool; 20 or so minutes in each place.

The Cove was filled with birds, even though you can see the red tide stretching out for at least a mile from shore. Nothing much unusual, just a huge number of terns, pelicans, cormorants and gulls. I’d say about 1200 Elegant Terns [official count, Mr. Brad = 1203]; after feeding they each began heading south. Forster’s, Royal, Caspian and Least terns also, and I thought a possible Gull-billed. Maybe 400-500 gulls, almost all of them Western, unlike the concentration of California Gulls reported by Steve Brad earlier this week off Leucadia. One immature Heermann’s Gull and one really weird large gull, extremely pale on back and wing coverts, with pale wing except for a few black outer primaries, and lacking a dark secondary bar. Possibly a Thayer’s-type Iceland gull maybe, but the wingtips were dark on the underwing as well. or some hybrid? On the rocks below were 2 Black Turnstones. And a female sea lion hauling around a dead newborn or recently-born pup.

Then moved down to just south of ESB Park. I could see a large congregation of birds on the horizon, too far offshore to identify anything except pelicans.
About 3/4 mile from shore, a group of 4–5 storm-petrels were foraging over the kelp bed. Their flight and shape to me was more suggestive of Ashy rather than Black, but I cannot say for sure.
No shearwaters of any kind.
2 Black Oystercatchers were on the rocks offshore from Children’s Pool.

At 11:00, the light was bright and there was too much heat haze. Will try again tomorrow, early in the morning.

Stan Walens, San Diego
May 13, 2020; 12:38 p.m.
Source: SanDiegoRegionBirding Latest Reports