Grasshopper Sparrow at Elings

Hugh Ranson

This afternoon there was an obliging Grasshopper Sparrow at Elings Park north of the stone bench. A photo here:

The habitat at the park is much degraded. There are still some nice clumps of blooming fennel, but recently much of the fennel and ground cover around the bench has been cut down. Additionally, in the last few months the park has become increasing popular with mountain bikers. Some of the old trails that were quite narrow have now been considerably widened, and with that has come a corresponding loss of habitat. Lastly, ground dwelling birds are constantly harassed and put to flight, which I think will mean fewer birds are likely to stick around. 

I've seen and heard some interesting birds at my Westside home this past week. At dawn on Wednesday, five Snowy Egrets flew low over the house heading west (to Laguna Blanca?), and were followed a minute later by another tight group of ten. Not so unusual, I hear you say? Well, I've lived at my current address for 25 years,  I'm pretty keen on keeping a yard list, and these are the first Snowy Egrets I've seen. 

On Friday morning, also at dawn, I heard several Swainson's Thrushes calling overhead.

Hugh Ranson
Santa Barbara

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