Santa Maria Valley birding

Dave Compton

I checked several spots today, including the flooded field along Black Rd between Stowell and Bettaravia, Mitchell Rd, and Waller Park. Not a whole lot to report, but I did see some things of minor interest.

Black Rd: Spent about 1:15 here and did NOT see a Sandhill Crane. Looks like no one has reported it since Monday. The most interesting find here was three SANDERLINGS unusually far from the ocean. Also, the six SNOW GEESE continued, hanging out with the two Canadas. A decent size flock of blackbirds included about a half dozen Great-tailed Grackles. The gull flock was dominated by Mew Gulls, with about 125 of this species, which I thought was a lot for so far from the coast. Not sure if others have been looking at the little pond in the southwest corner of the field, but I saw several species here that others haven't been reporting (Eared Grebe, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, American Wigeon). 
I checked recent eBird lists from this location, by the way, and they are amazingly variable. Maybe that has something to do with water levels rising and falling with rainy and dry periods.

Mitchell Rd. Two FERRUGINOUS HAWKS and at least 80 TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS were the best here. There was a small flock of Horned Larks. I checked the flock for longspurs, but found none.

Waller Park. I was here in early afternoon, and there were a ton of people. A frisbee golf tournament made it worse than your average Sunday. The long-staying CACKLING GOOSE was present, but I was unable to find anything notable in the park.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

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