Around 6 pm today I was walking past the entrance kiosk for the State Beach Campground at the south end of Palm Avenue in Carpinteria when I saw a bird foraging on a grassy patch. The bird appeared to be a relatively short-billed thrasher, grayish above with a speckled throat and breast. It was repeatedly running and stopping in a robin-like manner.
The bird was fairly tame, allowing me to watch it through binoculars at close range (as little as 20 feet) for about 30 minutes. A couple of times it was flushed from the spot by passing pedestrians, but each time it returned. When it flew I saw that it had prominent buffy patches in the outer corners of its otherwise-dark tail.
I was able to get some low-quality photos by holding my phone up to my binoculars; I've attached them to my eBird report. See:
I realize sage thrasher would be very unusual, but I've had a hard time coming up with an alternative ID. I'd appreciate suggestions. :-)
If people want to try to see if the bird is still there tomorrow, I'd suggest parking on the street at the south end of Palm Ave., just north of the railroad tracks, then walking (carefully) across the tracks toward the State Beach campground entrance. There's a model tomol (Chumash canoe) on the right side of the entrance road at that point; the bird was foraging in the grassy area in which the tomol is located. It's possible to stand in the area of the campground amphitheater immediately to the west and have good views of the grassy patch.