Judith StClaire

Judith StClaire

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Blog Post

Pigeon Guillemot, A Rare Bird – January 11, 2019

Rarely sighted by local birdwatchers, this Pigeon Guillemot was seen in Humboldt Bay, off the beach at King Salmon.  At nine o’clock on a January morning, the bird paddled toward the Coast Guard base on an incoming tide.

Pigeon Guillemot
A Pigeon Guillemot in Humboldt Bay swims on an incoming tide.

Our second trip to King Salmon in four days, the cold snap was over and the temperature soared to a brisk 65 degrees – in the sun.  My tripod and camera were set up and ready for any event.  I photographed a pair of Horned Grebes in their beautiful winter colors.

The Pigeon Guillemot was sighted by my bird watching buddy.  He called my attention to the small bird swimming between the beach and the jaws of Humboldt Bay.  In no time at all I swung my camera around.  I focused, clicked off a few shots, then started a video.  All while the rare bird paddled farther and farther away.

Missed My Old Camera

This was one of those days I kicked myself for trading away my large camera.  In the beginning, I agonized over settling for equipment of a much smaller scale.  But, hey, it is done.  My little camera is red.  It is a “state-of-the-art” machine with a zillion mega pixels.  I must add the image seen through the single, fully extended lens was comparable to the one seen with my friend’s humongous scope.  Add to that, my gear weighed so little.  I guess I’m not so bad off after all.

Although the Pigeon Guillemot was too far away for an ideal photograph, we have recorded its identification.  And, with this entry, we have made a record of where and when it was seen.  That has to be enough.  Maybe on another day the bird will be closer.  “Hope springs eternal …”  (Mother loved to quote the ancients.)

Winter is Not Over

At this writing, winter weather is back again in full force.  A huge storm like the one that pummeled the Los Angeles area yesterday seems to have made its way to Humboldt.  The wall of windows in my little studio faces south.  Last night, the windows shook with wave after wave of wind-driven rain.  This morning and into the afternoon, we’ve seen brilliant flashes of lightning.  Nerve rattling thunder is so loud and long it shakes hail out of the clouds.  I have no hope of a break long enough to get to the beach and remain dry enough to photograph.  Maybe tomorrow.

Until then, I’ll sit here with cabin fever, and, perhaps, even do the dishes.


Check out other Posts about birds on Humboldt Bay, including some Bufflehead Ducks.

The photo of the Horned Grebe pair may become a new Photo Greeting Card.  What do you think?

Horned Grebe Pair Humboldt Bay
Horned Grebes winter in Humboldt Bay. A pair is seen here swimming against an incoming tide.

Until next time, stay warm, dry, healthy and happy.








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Eureka, CA, USA

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