Santa Barbara Lucy's, Santa Maria Sandhill Crane, and misc

Dave Compton
 

I checked several far-flung places on the north and south coasts this morning. After the rain stopped, I checked Peseta Lane (off Calle Real in Santa Barbara), where the Lucy's Warbler was feeding in Tipuana tipu trees in the CenCal lot, just east and northeast of the building. Tons of Yellow-rumped Warblers were active in the iron-bark eucalyptus across the street, in the lot at the Sansum Clinic, but this species was virtually absent in the tipu trees.

Later, I was at Black Rd in Santa Maria, where I caught up with the Sandhill Crane, which showed up in the recently mowed field to the east of the pasture, just as I was about to leave. An Iceland (Thayer's) Gull was with the gull flock, which included at least 150 Mew Gulls (probably more), 15 Herrings, and 5 Westerns, with a handful of Ring-billeds and more than 100 Californias. Seven Snow Goose were also present.

What makes this spot so great for me is how variable the bird assemblage must be. Not only do birds seem to shuttle between this location and other nearby habitats (such as, presumably, the sewage plant up the road), but water levels rise and fall with the weather, changing the nature of the attractant. I saw far fewer shorebirds today, more gulls, and a completely different assemblage of ducks compared with two weeks ago. Also, I saw a bunch of snipe here two weeks ago, but none today. I suppose there are a lot more places for them to go, now, compared with two weeks ago.

A couple of other notes from random stops: I checked the "A Street ponds" (aka, Getty Basin) on the east side of A St north of Betteravia. All I saw here were several dozen coots and five American Wigeons.

At Gaviota State Beach, I thought I might see some gulls on the beach in the stormy conditions. The gate to the campground was closed, mud was all over the campground, and (having walked down from the bluffs west of the campground) I found that the beach was pretty much stripped away and supported no gulls at all. I did not even see a gull on the pier. Lots of debris on the beach. I really not a pleasant stop at the moment.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

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