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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Flooded and flushed

One of the highest tides of the year led me to the Gaffney Point salt marsh in Bodega Harbor this morning.  The tide reached +6.98 feet at 9:56 a.m.  [The highest (and lowest) tides of the year occur around both the winter and summer solstices.]

Here's a view looking across Bodega Harbor with some known landmarks in the background: Lucas Wharf (right side) and The Tides (left side).

Most days you would see dense salt marsh vegetation in the foreground here, but it was almost completely flooded at this time.  

American White Pelicans and Snowy Egrets found one of the only sites remaining above water.

While photographing the high tide, one of my favorite sightings involved this species:

A Say's Phoebe (Sayornis saya) was taking advantage of the tide's flushing action.  As the water flooded the marsh, insects flew up and out of the vegetation, and this flycatcher was waiting!

The phoebe perched on various objects surrounded by water, flew out to capture an insect (such as a fly or moth), and then flew back to a perch to consume it.

Below, the phoebe has prey in its bill, but I couldn't quite make out what it was.

A Black Phoebe was also in the area, but several times the Say's Phoebe chased it away (vociferously!).  This high tide led to some interesting views and interactions.

P.S.  Tomorrow (14 December 2012), the high tide will be similar: +6.85 feet at 10:46 a.m.

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