Monday, May 25, 2009

grunion greeting, 2009 #4

cormorant & grunion
new moon cycle (11:25pm - 1:05am), overcast skies

It's a little disturbing at how many dead or injured birds we've seen this year, including during our grunion watching. I'm guessing the dead black bird is a cormorant. There have been reports about dead birds on the beaches.

We went out earlier than requested at 11:05pm, because the night heron (we've started calling "him" Charlie) was already hunting on the berm the previous 2 grunion nights when we arrived. As expected, he was at his favorite hunting spot, about 20 yards from the pier and between the 6th and 7th parking meters from the bathroom. We saw our first grunions immediately from the pier before we could even get down to the beach. Unfortunately, Charlie flew off shortly after we got down to the beach; we wonder if he was already full or simply didn't want to deal with us chasing after him every time he caught a fish. There was also a pelican diving into the water throughout our time on the beach.

We counted 19 total grunion in 2s or 3s: 12 by us from 11:05-11:35pm; 4 by Diane a fellow grunion greeter and her MBA friend from 11:45pm-12:15am; and 3 by all of us at 12:20am.

Since this was the first time after the workshop night that fellow grunion greeters were at Del Monte Beach, we left Diane and her friend shortly after they arrived and headed down the beach together to the cement structure with hopes to find other grunion "hot spots." No such luck, but it was very peaceful and meditative. The city lights reflecting off the clouds made it easier to see compared to clear skies and a full moon. The no-flash pic above is brighter and more orange than it actually was.

Just like the previous time, it was challenging to take a picture of the skedaddling grunion. They're awfully quick!