Archive for April, 2018

thescienceturnip: western screech owl, M. kennicottii, held…

Saturday, April 28th, 2018


western screech owl, M. kennicottii, held among pear tree blossoms.


My trip to Cuyama was mostly to spend the night at Aliso Park Campgorund (where I am now; yay cell coverage) because I need a couple of nocturnal birds that have been reported from here recently. First up was this little charmer. (Actually, first up were Great Horned and Barn Owls. But I had them already.)

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sunwendyrain: Blue GrosbeakQuintana, Tx #253I love these guys….

Saturday, April 28th, 2018


Blue Grosbeak

Quintana, Tx


I love these guys. A few early migrants had been seen here and there on the south coast, but I hadn’t had any luck so far. Then some birders reported seeing a lot of them at Barka Slough near Lompoc, and today I had a chance to stop by there on my way to an overnight birding trip in Cuyama.

It was quite windy when I pulled up at Barka Slough, but I figured I’d give it a try. I’d taken only a few steps down the road when I heard a metallic call and there he was, in the tall grass 15 feet in front of me.😀

I’m glad it isn’t always this easy. But it sure was nice this time.

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debunkshy: Palm Warbler Honeenum Pond, WI #252I went to the…

Thursday, April 26th, 2018


Palm Warbler

Honeenum Pond, WI


I went to the Carpinteria Bluffs this morning and had a grand time, topped off by my first-this-year (and second ever) Palm Warbler. I saw one at the Greenwell Preserve last fall when I was scouting for the upcoming Christmas Count, but this one today was in its breeding plumage and much spiffier looking, with crisp streaking below, a yellow throat, and a rufous crown.

Peter Gaede saw a Palm Warbler in pretty much this same spot on January 5 for our Christmas Count, which led Eric Culbertson to wonder if the bird I saw today is the same bird, having overwintered there, or a different bird, having wandered in as a spring vagrant. Who knows?  (Well, the warbler in question presumably knows.)

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itinsightus:“PURPLE” by Roy-Hancliff #251There are two…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


“PURPLE” by Roy-Hancliff


There are two hummingbird species that are common around Santa Barbara year-round: Anna’s and Allen’s. Each spring we get four more: Rufous, Black-chinned, Costa’s, and Calliope. I picked up the Rufous, Black-chinned, and Costa’s pretty quickly once migration started, but I couldn’t find a Calliope.

Today at lunchtime my birding friend Eric phoned me up. I get excited when I see his name on my phone because he doesn’t bother to call unless he’s got something good. “I’m looking at a Calliope Hummingbird on Santa Monica Creek.”

I grabbed my binoculars and was out the door, and five minutes later I was looking at the bird. Thanks, Eric!

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lifeinanrv:Least Bittern #250It’s nice that for this round…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


Least Bittern


It’s nice that for this round number I got such a spectacular bird. I’d never seen a Least Bittern before (never seen an American Bittern before; hitherto I’ve been completely bitternless).

A few days ago Will Knowlton found a Least Bittern skulking in the reeds at Lake Los Carneros, and since then a number of people have spent time looking for it, the lucky folk catching occasional glimpses of the super-shy, super-tiny heron. I’d tried a couple of times, but had struck out so far. Then, as I was watching this morning, I got a quick glimpse of the bird; it was hidden back in the reeds but I could make it out with the spotting scope. I wanted to share the view with the two birders standing next to me, but had to lower the telescope for them, and while I was doing that the bird disappeared into the reeds.

I felt good that I’d seen it, but it wasn’t the most satisfying view, and I felt bad about being unable to share it. So we kept looking, and a half hour or so later (after some other birders had also arrived), I was looking at some swallows that were flying by the reeds when suddenly I saw the bittern in my field of view, flying. I abandoned the swallow I was looking at and shouted excitedly to the other birders, and several of us were able to watch it as it flew for a few seconds before landing in the reeds and disappearing again.

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