Carpinteria salt marsh, December 15, 2016There was a decent high…

Posted December 15th, 2016 by John Callender

Carpinteria salt marsh, December 15, 2016

There was a decent high tide at the marsh this morning, and rain due over the next couple of days, so I took advantage of one of my last good chances to do scouting before Sunday’s count. Highlights were a single female Pintail and a neat patch of flowering Salt Marsh Dodder growing by the railroad tracks.

Also, the way it looked when the rain started falling.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 15, 2016 7:35 AM – 9:49 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Scoped the marsh from Estero Way, then walked the railroad tracks to Sand Point Road and back. Tide was 6’ at the beginning, topped out at 6.8’ at the end.

47 species

Brant  2
Mallard  6
Blue-winged Teal  5
Northern Pintail  1     Female
Green-winged Teal  6
Bufflehead  3
Red-breasted Merganser  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  8
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  21
Whimbrel  1
Long-billed Curlew  16
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Willet  115
Western Gull  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  22
Eurasian Collared-Dove  12
Anna’s Hummingbird  4
Belted Kingfisher  1     Female
Black Phoebe  3
Say’s Phoebe  2
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  10
Bushtit  14
Marsh Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  1
American Pipit  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  7
Townsend’s Warbler  1
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Savannah Sparrow  1
California Towhee  1
House Finch  4
House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hzwfH2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2hCtQse.

High tide at the Carpinteria Salt MarshIt was a 7′ high tide,…

Posted December 13th, 2016 by John Callender

High tide at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh

It was a 7′ high tide, which is about as high as it gets around here, so I did another CBC scouting trip this morning.

Photos:

  • The western end of the marsh completely full of water, with a cute Pied-billed Grebe in the lower right. It was awesome to set up the spotting scope and be able to see everything; at lower tides the birds tend to hide down in the channels.
  • Crappy digiscoped view with a male Shoveler in the lower left, a Royal Tern toward the right, and Willets and Long-billed Curlews in the middle. In the back are some smaller shorebirds: a Black-bellied Plover on the left, and some harder-to-identify (at least in this shot) birds on the right.
  • What I’m calling a first-year Glaucous-winged Gull. I’ve forwarded the photo to the count organizer for a second opinion, but I think it looks pretty solid.
  • The lagoon at the marsh entrance. You can’t tell from the photo, but the tide had turned and there was about a 2-knot current setting out the entrance.
  • Another crappy digiscoped photo, this time of a mixed flock at the edge of the marsh lagoon. Lots of Black-bellied Plovers, a handful of Semipalmated Plovers, a couple of Sanderlings, and (because I identified them visually, not because you can tell in this shot) some Western Sandpipers. Also, toward the left side of the photo, there’s a bird that’s a little bigger than the Sanderlings and considerably smaller than the Black-bellied Plovers; I’m calling that a Dunlin (one of three I identified visually, though I didn’t take the time to get a good photo).

The full list via eBird:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 13, 2016 8:22 AM – 10:47 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Tide 7’ max.
55 species (+2 other taxa)

Brant  2
American Wigeon  2
Mallard  32
Northern Shoveler  1
Green-winged Teal  4
Bufflehead  15
Red-breasted Merganser  2
Pied-billed Grebe  4
Double-crested Cormorant  33
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  6
Snowy Egret  8
Osprey  1
Northern Harrier  1     Female hunting near south side of marsh
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Black-bellied Plover  45
Semipalmated Plover  6
Killdeer  18
Whimbrel  3
Long-billed Curlew  19
Sanderling  4
Dunlin  3
Least Sandpiper  4
Western Sandpiper  6
peep sp.  15
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  6
Willet  115
Ring-billed Gull  1
Western Gull  1
California Gull  1
Glaucous-winged Gull  1     1st year
gull sp.  1
Caspian Tern  2
Forster’s Tern  1
Royal Tern  1
Eurasian Collared-Dove  9
Belted Kingfisher  1     Female
Black Phoebe  1
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  23
Bushtit  1
Marsh Wren  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  3
American Pipit  25
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
White-crowned Sparrow  32
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  24
Song Sparrow  1
Western Meadowlark  7
House Finch  3
House Sparrow  2

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hC0hKW

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2gxMwaU.

My little big dayI birdwatched (almost) continually from sunrise…

Posted December 11th, 2016 by John Callender

My little big day

I birdwatched (almost) continually from sunrise to sunset today as part of getting ready for next Sunday’s Christmas bird count. It was lots of fun. I’m tired, but not too bad.

If I’m reading the merged record in eBird correctly I had 64 species total, which isn’t bad considering I stuck pretty much to one chunk of habitat and didn’t drive at all (except that my partner in crime was nice enough to pick me up for a quick lunch and drop me off again after).

Technically two of the shots above (upper right and lower left) were taken yesterday rather than today. But that’s basically where I was today as well.

I kept 5 separate eBird lists over the course of the day.

List #1:

Home, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 6:40 AM – 6:58 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
10 species (+1 other taxa)

Western Gull  13
gull sp.  7
Anna’s Hummingbird  5
Allen’s Hummingbird  1
Black Phoebe  1
American Crow  18
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
White-crowned Sparrow  8
California Towhee  1
Brewer’s Blackbird  8

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ6izo

List #2:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 6:59 AM – 9:51 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     With Rob
49 species (+2 other taxa)

Mallard  16
Blue-winged Teal  15
Northern Pintail  3
Bufflehead  8
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Western Grebe  20
Double-crested Cormorant  11
Brown Pelican  6
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  3
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  3     Continuing birds at south end of Sandyland Cove Road.
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
American Coot  5
Long-billed Curlew  2
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  1
Heermann’s Gull  10
Western Gull  8
gull sp.  20
Forster’s Tern  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  10
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
Allen’s Hummingbird  3
Black Phoebe  3
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  41
Bushtit  21
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  4
wren sp.  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Wrentit  2
California Thrasher  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
Common Yellowthroat  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
White-crowned Sparrow  38
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow (Belding’s)  1
Song Sparrow  7
Lincoln’s Sparrow  3
California Towhee  1
Western Meadowlark  4
House Finch  19
House Sparrow  6

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2heFDPN

List #3:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 10:01 AM – 11:12 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Walking the RR tracks from Sandyland Cove Road to Estero Way, scoping into the marsh.
33 species

Mallard  3
Bufflehead  2
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  3
Whimbrel  4
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  7
Eurasian Collared-Dove  5
Anna’s Hummingbird  2
Allen’s Hummingbird  2
Black Phoebe  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  10
House Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
California Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
Common Yellowthroat  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
White-crowned Sparrow  34
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
Western Meadowlark  8
House Finch  4
House Sparrow  16

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ9fzU

List #4:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 12:08 PM – 2:09 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     With Mario and Nancy. Estero Way to marsh mouth lagoon and return.
31 species (+1 other taxa)

Brant  1
Bufflehead  8
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  5
American White Pelican  2     Two circled overhead before landing near the cormorants in the middle of the western part of the marsh.
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  3
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  2
Black-bellied Plover  15
Semipalmated Plover  3
Whimbrel  4
Long-billed Curlew  13
Marbled Godwit  9
Sanderling  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  107
Ring-billed Gull  1
Western Gull  5
gull sp.  1
Black Phoebe  1
Say’s Phoebe  3
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  1
Bushtit  19
Northern Mockingbird  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  2
Western Meadowlark  13
House Finch  10

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2heDW4O

List #5:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 2:18 PM – 4:44 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Estero Way entrance to marsh mouth lagoon and return, with Deborah.
35 species (+1 other taxa)

Mallard  2
Bufflehead  12
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  3
Double-crested Cormorant  7
American White Pelican  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  2
Black-bellied Plover  15
Semipalmated Plover  16
Whimbrel  2
Long-billed Curlew  6
Marbled Godwit  3
Sanderling  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  2
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  50
Ring-billed Gull  2     Watched one repeatedly get a bivalve (mussel?) from low-tide exposed channel bed, fly over to a cobble bed and drop it to break it open. Deborah got photos.
Western Gull  25
Caspian Tern  1
tern sp.  7
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  1
Bushtit  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
American Pipit  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Western Meadowlark  9
House Finch  6

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ6XRH

(I walked home after this, but I didn’t birdwatch. Instead I played Pokemon.)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2hesbeR.

Best hobby or best hobby?

Posted December 7th, 2016 by John Callender

Best hobby or best hobby?

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2gda6hT.

Apologies in advance. I’m getting very excited about the upcoming Christmas bird count, and am…

Posted December 7th, 2016 by John Callender

Apologies in advance. I’m getting very excited about the upcoming Christmas bird count, and am starting to drop references to it in all human interactions. “Why yes, I will have a Coke with that. Also, did you know the local Christmas bird count is happening on Sunday, December 18?”

I’ll try to keep it under control as best I can. More details after a cut.

This year instead of going into the remoter part of the front country in the normally-off-limits Rancho Monte Alegre parcel and the Santa Monica Creek headwaters, I’ve been offered a plum assignment by the local count organizer: The Carpinteria Salt Marsh.

This is a big deal to me.

You’ve probably noticed me talking about the marsh. I’m a volunteer docent there, which means that one Saturday a month (usually the first Saturday) I’m on hand to lead a tour for whoever shows up. I’ve been doing the docent tours for a few years now, but in the beginning, before I got roped into those, what brought me to the marsh was birdwatching.

It’s an amazing place for birdwatching.

These days I have a better understanding of why that is, having gone through the docent training, which involves lectures and field trips with experts in various aspects of marsh science. But even without knowing about how productive and densely interconnected marsh ecosystems are, how large a role wetlands play in the surrounding environment, and how important the native plant restoration has been in the city-owned portion where the docent tours happen, I knew it was a great place for birds.

The Christmas count is a team effort, and in the past I’ve enjoyed doing my part by hitting the local backyards where a Rufous Hummingbird would sometimes overwinter, or hiking up the Santa Monica Creek headwaters to get the occasional rarity (we had Wood Ducks one year). But in terms of sheer numbers and variety, the marsh is the crown jewel of our 15-mile-diameter count circle, and I’ve always envied the people who count there.

This year that’ll be me!

I’m a little anxious about it, because I know I’m not as good as some of the other local birders who’ve done the marsh in years past. But apparently they’re either unavailable this year or will be busy covering remoter parts of the count circle. So I’m doing my best to get up to speed on marsh-specific ID challenges: differentiating the two yellowlegs species, the two dowitchers, medium-sized winter shorebirds, immature gulls, distant terns. Also, getting stronger on the call notes of the various sparrows that hang out in the marsh. I mean, I know many of them. But I need to know them all.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 6, 2016 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Tide 3’ and bottoming out
46 species

Mallard  2
Blue-winged Teal  10
Bufflehead  7
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Brown Pelican  2     Actually outside of CSMNP, over ocean.
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  8
Black-bellied Plover  2
Killdeer  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  15
Greater Yellowlegs  2     Watched it swimming and dipping like a dabbling duck in the marsh park channel near the culvert – caught and swallowed a small fish.
Willet  1
Western Gull  3
California Gull  7
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  4
Allen’s Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Black Phoebe  2
Say’s Phoebe  1
Cassin’s Kingbird  1
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  5
Bushtit  12
Marsh Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
California Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  10
American Pipit  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
White-crowned Sparrow  44
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
California Towhee  4
Western Meadowlark  13
House Finch  10
House Sparrow  2

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gbpyqb

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2h6Mk6Z.