Carpinteria Birding and hawk watch

Florence Sanchez

I decided to check out Carpinteria this morning.  With the exception of the Cackling Goose, none of the rarities recently reported put in an appearance and the creek was pretty quiet overall.  As for the goose, it's an interesting bird--very small bill, brown parts are rather dark, and it had an interesting call note (lie a Canada's but shorter and higher pitch).

My next stop was the tams next to the driving range, but I had to bird them from the gravel service road as there was too much activity on the golf course side to be safe there.  Not much happening in the tams either.  My final stop was Santa Monica Creek.  There was no sparrow activity at all except a couple of singing white-crowns, but it was after 9 a.m. and warming up fast.  A check of the Cape honeysuckle hedge along the creek turned up an interesting Vireo.  My first impression was that it was a Cassin's Vireo, but as I looked at it more and more, I wasn't so sure.  The head was definitely gray, not greenish but then again, it wasn't a blue-gray.  One of the wingbars appeared to be yellow, rather than white.  After getting home and checking a bunch of references, I'm still not positive about the ID.  Fall birds of both Cassin's and Blue-headed Vireos are very much alike.  If any Carp birders are in the area tomorrow, they might want to keep an eye out for this Vireo and see what they make of it.

I spent an hour and a half at the original hawk-watch site on Bella Vista Road.  I luckily found a spot to park in the shade, for it was the hottest morning up there yet this week.  It was also the dullest hawk-wise.  I had at lleast 3 Red-tailed Hawks, all of which I believe are resident birds, and there were a lot of Turkey Vultures out too, most flying from east to west along the ridge.  The only other sighting was of a single Northern Harrier gliding against the hill before it dropped out of sight. There has been a large flock of white-throated Swifts working the area the past two times I've been there.

Florence Sanchez

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