Santa Maria Valley

Wes Fritz

SB Birders,

 Cruz Phillips and I bounced around the SMV yesterday 10-30-19 and saw a few cool birds.
We started at the Los Alamos County Park in Los Alamos and it was kinda birdy, but nothing notable.
  The first bird was an Osprey perched on a Oak Tree on Hwy 135 near Hwy (1) this seemed very odd for this specie at this location.
  Our next stop was at the Tanglewood pond, the only note worthy birds were a very distant Scaup and 6 American Wigeon.
  We then checked out the Black Road formally Flooded Fields. Well, they are no longer grass fields, they have been tilled to bare dirt. But they are irrigating the dirt clods. We then moved over the Santa Maria Sewage Works, here we saw 4 Mew Gulls and you American Herring Gulls.
  We then hit up Jack O’Connell Park, not too sucky this time. We saw 20ish Wilson’s Snipe and a plover that looked a Pacific Golden Plover, but when we tried to get closer, it flew away with a few Black-bellied Plovers, or morphed into a Black-bellied Plover. We then checked the agg fields west of the park and had 4 Lapland Longspurs flying above us and in and out with the Horned Larks. The Black-bellied Plover flock was is pretty impressive, I counted 197 birds one by one. They were distant and I could have easily overlooked the Pacific Golden Plovers. We also had a conservative count of 150 Tricolored Blackbirds.
  Further west at the Blue Barn pastures ( trespassing?- not the angry cattle rancher pastures) we saw one Ferruginous Hawk.
 We then turned our focus on the Pipit flocks. We found lots of small flocks, but the big flock was on W. Betteravia Road, near the train tracks or across from Hayward Lumber. There is a large field on the north side of Betteravia. Cruz counted 19 Red-tailed Hawks many were on the ground. I guess the odd thing about all of these Red-tailed Hawks was they were mostly juveniles. We also had a few large flocks of American Pipits. There was one particular Pipit that was marked fairly well with darker streaking, very white wing bars and bright pink legs. We could not get a photo of this Pipit. So, if anybody is birding this field look
at all the pipits.

Today at the corner of Clark and Hwy 1 in Orcutt there was a kettle of 7 Red-tailed Hawks.

Good birding.

Wes Fritz
Solvang CA.

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