Some observations from Lake Los Carneros

Mark Holmgren

LLC continues to amaze me.  It has such a complete combination of resources that attract species other areas can't support.  Full surveys of natural areas at this time of year (after migration, before dispersal, and before migrants pass through in any numbers) provides the best snapshot of how our natural areas work to support breeding birds.  Most adult birds in our area now probably intend to breed.

I did not do such a full survey today! I circled LLC looking for highlights and breeding records.

Western Kingbird may breed in Goleta and Santa Barbara only at Lake Los Carneros. An adult fed a short-tailed fledgling NE of the lake at the edge of Eucalyptus.  If you know of other Western Kingbirds breeding in SB and Goleta, please send or post photos. While one adult fed the fledgling, another  single adult foraged with the Cassin's Kingbirds SW of the lake.

Like Western Kingbirds, Ash-throated Flycatchers in the urban South Coast are declining.  So it was interesting to see a calling bird in the Euc grove east of the lake. 

Breeding Bullock's Orioles are scattered sparsely around the urban South Coast.  A pair tended a fledgling near Stow House.

A marshy cove near the NE corner of the lake supplied insects for at least 5 breeding bird species while I watched.  Up to 20 Red-winged Blackbird fledglings flocked near there while adults continued to bring food to the tules in the marsh.  Only a couple other marshes work at all along the South Coast.

Pairs of Yellow Warblers were on the west and east sides of the lake.  An apparently independent juvenile plumaged YeWa also used the marsh. 

Additional birds of interest were 1, maybe 2, pairs of Hairy Woodpeckers, a Barn Swallow (scarce, I think, this year along the coast), a circling Peregrine.  It seems that there has been no Mallard breeding at LLC this year. All I saw were 25 molting adults. I did not see Wf Ibis or Least Bittern.

Mark Holmgren
San Marcos Pass

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