Farren Road and Refugio Rd/Creek

Dave Compton

This morning, I did a fairly quick check of Farren Rd, where I found a total of three Grasshopper Sparrows. Recall that last year was the first time in four years that we had this species at this location, which formerly was the go-to Grasshopper Sparrow place on the south coast. One bird was singing in the area near the lowest (most southerly) part of the road. I detected it while driving with my windows down where the road first gets some altitude. It was singing back down the hill or in the flats below. The other two were where the road levels off and straightens out, north of the eucalyptus trees at the top of the first hill by a quarter mile or so. One bird was quite close to the road.

Refugio Creek was very birdy, even late in the morning. I bumped into Cher Hollingworth and Adrian O'Loghlen, and Adrian and I birded for a while in the section about 2 miles north of US 101. Yellow-rumped Warbler was the most plentiful migrant, followed by nice numbers of Black-throated Gray Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, and Townsend's Warblers, and lots of Bullock's Orioles, including one location that could've had 15 or 20 birds. Hard to count, since most were off the road a bit. The chatter from the orioles was impressive. We also had 4 different Cassin's Vireos, a sprinkling of Nashville Warblers and Black-headed Grosbeaks, several Western Kingbirds, one male Western Tanager, and what I think may have been resident Warbling Vireos and Yellow Warblers, based on the modest numbers and spread-out locations. Relatively late migrants included 4 or 5 Lincon's Sparrows and 3 Hermit Thrushes. Several small flocks of White-crowned Sparrows, a Golden-crowned Sparrow, and a couple of Ruby-crowned Kinglets were also probably migrants. 

As we were leaving, Linus stopped by on his way back down the road from Nick's favorite migration spot above the canyon. Sounds like he had a decent morning up there, too.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

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