Cachuma Campground and Lompoc on Wednesday

Robert Lindsay

Birded the eastern part of Cachuma Campground and Jackrabbit Flat this morning for the Cachuma CBC. Stunning absence of waterfowl. No ducks seen from shore at either location. On land, while diversity was fair, numbers of individuals seemed low. Odd to be there with no campers. The only human active area was around the marina. Birds it was nice to see were two White Pelican at Jackrabbit Flats, 2 Raven fly-overs, and a Merlin on top of the pine in front of the visitor center. Best birds were 2 White-Throated Sparrow, one beneath the palm trees 30 yards east of the visitor center, the other feeding in camp site 443. Otherwise only common, expected species.

Went from there to Lompoc Valley Middle School arriving a little after noon in time to see the last 5 gulls (California) leaving the campus. Drove from there down to Ocean Park. There was a large group of California Gulls in the water about 200 yards up from the trestle. Only ducks were Ruddys and a pair of American Wigeon. There was also a single Brant in the water near the observation station. Went next to the observation spot under the trestle and right away had an interesting gull on the nearest stretch of beach across the water to the south. It let me look at it for a couple of minutes before it took off for the ocean disappearing behind the dunes and not returning during the 15 minutes I waited. I would appreciate help with this bird. (Obviously I want it to be the Lesser Black-Backed but I'm not sure, much less certain, it was.) This gull was large but had no identifiable individuals next to it so I can't really say how large. It was bigger than the California gulls it flew off with. It had a dark back which was all dark when it took flight. The head was light but not snowy white and too far away to see any mottling detail even with the scope. The bill was mostly black but had some light coloring near the base. Most intriguing were the legs. They seemed yellow, definite not pink. I would appreciate hearing from those of you who have seen the LBBG. I'll count it only if this description matches the bird you've seen. Otherwise, I'll just figure my brain is manufacturing field marks that weren't there in my eagerness to get another county bird. Thanks for any help you can give.

That's all,
Rob Lindsay

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