.I was hoping to fit in several hours of good birding in San Francisco on Thursday. However, things didn't work out quite as planned. Getting through security at IAH took 90 minutes and, as United refused to delay my flight by 5 minutes, I and a bunch of other passengers had to rebook on a later flight. Then, when I arrived in SF and rushed over to the Cliff House area, I found it was incredibly windy - not at all good birding weather.
Seal Rock was busy with both Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorants, while Sutro Baths had a flock of Western Gulls.
The wind was so bad on the heights above the baths that I wasn't able to take photos of a Brown Pelican and a Red-tailed Hawk that passed overhead, although I did manage a quick shot of a Western Scrub-jay that was fighting to keep its perch on a snag.
I walked a mile along the path towards the Golden Gate Bridge.
Surf Scoters were riding the huge waves, while a Black Oystercather huddled on a rock well out of the water's reach.
Back at Cliff House, I spent an hour birding Sutro Heights Park. Common Ravens soared over the park and occasionally landed in it.
As always in this area, there were plenty of Brewer's Blackbirds.
White-crowned Sparrows are other common residents.
House Finches and Eurasian Collared Doves tried to perch on high branches while California Towhees scuttled around in the undergrowth.
I wasn't able to get pictures of a couple of Allen's Hummingbirds as they chased each other from tree to tree, but an Anna's Hummingbird let me watch as she explored some flowers.
My final bird in the park was an American Robin, which was busy pulling up and eating worms.
So, although my California trip hadn't started well, I had already seen several interesting birds. I wouldn't have any time for birding the following day but I was planning to spend Saturday exploring a couple of my favorite sites in the East Bay. I was sure these would produce some rewarding birding.