Quiet morning at Refugio and El Capitan

Florence Sanchez

I looked for the Virginia's Warbler (reported from Refugio) for a long time this morning without success.  The large Eucalyptus in the Campground that is just west of the little Lagoon had a fair amount of warbler activity but it was hard to identify individuals due to the heavy fog.  After keeping at it, I found several Orange-crowns, a few Wilson's, 1 Yellow Warbler, and a tail-less Townsends.  I walked up the road to the first stream crossing, but it was very quiet there.

I went down to El Capitan, where I birded the nature trail and the area around the entrance kiosk, then took the trail running along the entrance road for some distance.   Again, activity was almost non-existent.  The best bird of the morning was a Sharp-shinned Hawk that flew across the end of the nature trail that comes out on the meadow. (Small accipiter with slightly retracted head position, fast wingbeat, and notched tail)

A note about the grapevines at Bates Road (Ventura County side).  Joan Lentz and I birded them yesterday and found the feeding activity continues there.  We had Hooded Orioles, Western Tanagers, Spotted Towhees, and a most interesting Grosbeak coming to the grapes.  The Grosbeak appeared to be a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak but there were some variations in the coloring of the underside that had us puzzled.  We had long looks at it but it flew away before it could be photographed.  

Later we ran into David Levasheff and friends at the Bird Refuge and found they had been to. Bates Road before us.  They saw and David photographed an unmistakable male Rose-breasted Grosbeak.  We looked at his photographs and noted how clean white the underparts were, while in our bird, the underparts appeared to be dirty white and Joan thought there was also some orangish coloration as well.  It might have been our angle but we are left wondering if what we saw was a hybrid Rose-breasted X Black-headed Grosbeak.  That would mean there may be two Grosbeaks present.  Just something to look for if you bird this spot in the next couple of days.

Florence Sanchez

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