Goleta duck reshuffle

Dave Compton

Hi folks,

It looks like the Tufted Duck disappeared from Rancho Goleta since yesterday. I don't know if it moved to UCSB, but it was NOT on lower Atascadero Creek, where it spent a fair amount of time a couple of winters ago.

I think there has probably been a bit of a re-shuffle of ducks since yesterday's rain. I don't know for certain how many ducks were hanging around Goleta Slough before yesterday, but there are hundreds there, now. None of these, by the way, are in Area K, which has some water, now, but not as much as it sometimes does this time of year. But the "tidal" Basin A, which is the large area of pickleweed mostly west of the wooden bicycle bridge near the west end of Goleta Beach, is crammed with ducks. Most are either Mallards or Northern Shovelers, with lesser numbers of Green-winged Teal and scattered American Wigeon, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, and Blue-winged Teal (6). For those of you who don't know the current situation at Goleta Slough, the mouth was formerly unblocked through mechanical means whenever the sand berm built up enough to close the mouth. Flood control's permits to unblock the mouth expired about four years ago, and the National Marine Fisheries Service blocked efforts to renew them without analysis of impacts to steelhead from unblocking the mouth. So, while this issue remains unresolved (the airport is seeking permits to resume slough mouth management), the slough now is frequently not tidal, resulting in a major build up of water.

By the way, I saw four GREATER SCAUP in lower Atascadero Creek around midday. This is in the big flood control basin east of where the gas lines cross the creek, downstream of all the willows. All were females. Another female scaup at Rancho Goleta looks like it might also be a Greater. The CANVASBACK was at Rancho Goleta again late morning. Not sure, but it sounds like it might've been missed earlier in the day.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

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