Nojoqui and SYRE 9-11

Florence Sanchez

I decided to go over to the Valley this morning to see if I could escape the dense coastal fog.  In that I was successful and it was less smoky to start than it has been along the coast.  Consequently, it was chilly to start but there was real sunlight, albeit hazy sun.  

Not much was happening at the Park--just the expected oak Woodland birds and it generally was pretty quiet.  The falls are still flowing a trickle and there is water in the upper part of the creek, but it trickles out between the third and fourth bridges as you return down the path.  Nothing was bathing.  I discovered that a few birds were drinking from the concrete trough in the adjacent field.  This would be a spot worth checking.

There were Turkeys seen at three points:  A flock of 15+ in the cut alfalfa fields off Highway 154 near San Antonio Creek; a few on the Alisal Golf Course; and several in the field to the right of Alisal Road just before you reach the park.  In the field across the road, there were 3 deer, including a buck with antlers.

It got hazier by the time I left.  I decided to chance fog and go to the Santa Ynez River Estuary, but it was fairly foggy there.  The fog wasn't too dense, but unless birds were pretty close, views through binoculars and scope were always slightly hazy.  There was a nice assortment of Shorebirds but not too many of each until something disturbed a flock well upstream where they'd been out of sight when I arrived. Then the numbers increased a lot, especially Marbled Godwits.  The count went from 4 to 40 after the upstream birds arrived.  Remembering the Bar-tailed Godwit of a couple of years ago, I scoped the flock as well as possible and didn't pick up any odd Godwit--they all looked the same.  The only Terns seen were 4 Elegants flying upriver and 2 Caspian Terns that flew downriver.  There was also another buck mule deer with antlers at the park entrance.

My last stop was a brief one at Gaviota, which was fairly clear of fog but not much was happening at 12:30.

Some nice signs of fall were patches of goldenrod along San Marcos Pass Road and really stunning color on the poison oak along Alisal Road from Solvang to the Park.  Also interesting were individual plants of blooming Scarlet Monkey flower poking up like spikes among the Venus-Hair ferns on the rockface beside the falls.

Florence Sanchez

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