Archive for April, 2018

northwestnaturalist: Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana)…

Wednesday, April 25th, 2018


Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) Scolopacidae

Seal Rock State Park, OR
June 11, 2015
Robert Niese

This Tattler was certainly wandering! It’s breeding season for most shorebirds this time of year, but this lone Wandering Tattler is hundreds of miles away from its typical breeding grounds in NE Russia, Alaska, and NW Canada. What’cha doing here, buddy?


Reading the blog from Glenn Kincaid’s 2015 Santa Barbara County “Green Big Year” was a big part of what got me excited about keeping a county year list this year. Mine isn’t remotely green (I feel fairly conflicted about all the fossil fuel I’m burning), but reading Glenn’s account of the different species he was able to find and the places he found them made me want to do some of that. Glenn hadn’t been birding much in Santa Barbara County this year (he was traveling, I believe), but he’s back and entering eBird lists, and yesterday he reported two Wandering Tattlers from the Santa Barbara Harbor breakwater.

I headed out there this morning and walked to the sandspit at the end of the breakwater. There were lots of cool birds; loons and Black-crowned Night Herons and a huge flock of Elegant Terns. But no Wandering Tattlers. I was philosophical about it. They’d probably continued their wandering. No big deal. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I turned around to walk back off the sandspit, and… there they were. Three of them. I know I say they’re all cool birds, but these ones were really cool. Nothing like an unambiguous shorebird, right there in front of you.

Reposted from

Western Wood-Peewee (Contopus sordidulus)Photo by Flickr user J….

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Western Wood-Peewee (Contopus sordidulus)

Photo by Flickr user J. N. Stuart


Hard to miss when they’re vocalizing, which this one was as I was walking along Refugio Road this morning. Another summer visitor added to the list. 😃

Reposted from

philly-state-of-mind:Common Ground-DoveBellflower, CAJuly 10,…

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018


Common Ground-Dove
Bellflower, CA
July 10, 2013
Taken with a Canon PowerShot SX50 HS


Uncommon and declining in Santa Barbara County. 😞

I know them from when I was a kid birdwatching in Florida, and have seen them a couple of times in Carp, but not recently.

So I set the alarm and headed up this morning to Farren Road on the other side of Santa Barbara, where a few have been seen lately in an avocado orchard. I didn’t see any, but heard two of them clearly enough to count.

Reposted from

surfbirds:Elegant Terns (winter) (Santa Monica State…

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018


Elegant Terns (winter) (Santa Monica State Beach)


This afternoon I headed to Goleta Beach County Park, where some early Elegant Terns had been hanging out with Royals and Caspians. It was just what I needed to further my tern education: all three species hanging out together where I could study them in the spotting scope.

I’m definitely getting more comfortable with all three. 🙂

Reposted from

Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii)Photo by Flickr user Amado…

Friday, April 20th, 2018

Cassin’s Vireo (Vireo cassinii)

Photo by Flickr user Amado Demesa


There are some decent-sized holes in my birding knowledge. As I was discussing in connection with terns yesterday, there are certain groups I’ve tended to avoid in the past as requiring too much work.

“Little olive jobs flitting in tree canopies” is one of them. Until recently I haven’t really put in the effort. As a result, until this morning I’d never (knowingly) seen a Cassin’s Vireo.

But with the year-list obsession I have no excuse. People started reporting them around here few weeks ago in eBird, and I started keeping my eyes open. And this morning I was successful! I was looking at migrants in the willows at the Greenwell Preserve; the sun had just come up and the trees were full of singing. At one point I thought I heard what sounded like the Cassin’s Vireo recordings I’d been listening to, but it didn’t repeat, and I gave up looking for the singer and went back to all the awesome Orange-crowned and Nashville Warblers. And then there it was, plain as day! Spectacles, gray head, wing bars… I even got a glimpse of the yellow edging on the secondaries.

A very stylish bird. 🙂

Reposted from