The results of the CBC on Saturday are still coming in, and the job of compiling data from 200 birders has just begun. Saturday evening’s count dinner did reveal one thing for certain: dedicated birders, some from across the country, don’t let a bit of stormy weather dampen their spirits. Thanks to all of you who make it happen.
Saturday’s stormy weather definitely contributed to our preliminary species count of 198. And ironically, it seems to be the continuing drought conditions that tell us the glory days of 215 species are probably behind us until we get significant rainfall for a few seasons. It will be very telling as we settle in this week to compile numbers of individual species to see how they differ from past years.
TUFTED DUCK, returning for its 6th season in Santa Barbara, appeared on Lauro Reservoir
MOUNTAIN QUAIL along West Camino Cielo
ANCIENT MURRELET, scoped from Butterfly Beach
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, seen by many as this (presumably) single bird moved between water points from one side of the count circle to the other.
SPOTTED OWL, 6 birds recorded and photographed at known locations in the mountains
LEWIS’S WOODPECKER, 2 continuing at San Marcos Foothills Preserve, and 1 surprise along Paradise Rd.
TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE, lucky find of 1 of the 6 seen at La Cumbre Peak during count week
ORCHARD ORIOLE, 3 individuals in Goleta locations
NASHVILLE WARBLER, up to 8 individuals, mostly in Goleta
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, feeding on pomegranate fruit at Fairview Gardens
Two species never before recorded on our CBC appeared on count day: LONG-EARED OWL and DUSKY FLYCATCHER. The Dusky Flycatcher, a high-elevation breeder in our county, was found on private property in Hope Ranch. There are only two previous winter records in the county, and this is the first on the south coast. The two owls were found on a day roost at Lake Los Carneros. By sheer coincidence, the SB News-Press reporter was assigned to the group counting there, and the owls made the front page Sunday. Fortunately the article did not provide detail that would cause a stampede of people clamoring to see them. Enough has been said about this subject here, but I will add that Audubon’s official stance on owl locations is that they do not publish them (the CBC is an Audubon-sponsored project). Any details posted on this platform or any other type of social media are up to the birder posting them. In the end, I think we can all appreciate the caution and sensitivity of birders who keep the birds’ well-being as a priority.
GREATER SCAUP, none apparent with the flocks of the more common Lessers
Due to the grim conditions on the ocean, these species were not seen (but all mariners returned home safely!):
COMMON MURRE, only one bird was seen on count day, deceased at Goleta Beach
WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKER, female found at La Cumbre Peak during Count Week, but missed in Saturday’s socked-in conditions on the ridge
RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH, completely absent this winter after a few present in the fall
BALTIMORE ORIOLE, but present at the Municipal Golf Course on Friday
PALM WARBLER, not found despite several birds seen this fall and winter
Thank you to everyone who participated.