San Rafael Mountains

Mike Stiles

I spent 4 days in the Mission Pine area in the San Rafael Mountains. There was a surprising amount of water near the Mission Pine Spring campground and the birding was good, but nothing rare.

I had at least 6 HERMIT WARBLERS, one of which a bright adult male. Other warblers seen were Townsend's, Yellow, Orange-crowned and 2 Black-throated Gray.

I had White-headed, Nuttal's and Hairy Woodpeckers, Screech, Pygmy, and Great-horned Owls, one Olive-sided Flycatcher, many Mountain Chickadees, and Pygmy and White-breasted Nuthatches. Canyon Wrens were numerous, both in the lower areas and on top. Somewhat surprising were two flocks of Bushtits along the ridge top. I'm wondering if they move down the mountain in the winter.

A calling GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE was in the chaparral a few miles up the road from Cachuma Saddle.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos, CA

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