Date   
SYR Estuary 16 August 2013

Mark Holmgren <maholmgren@...>
 

I birded the Santa Ynez River Estuary today in fog around noon.  Very full estuary closed to the ocean. Quite a bit of interesting activity.  Highlights include:
Reddish Egret found by Don Tate is still present
Clark's Grebe juvenile is still around

Snowy Plover                              2   
Black-necked Stilt                      3
Greater Yellowlegs                     8
Willet                                          16
Lesser Yellowlegs                       2
Whimbrel                                    3
Long-billed Curlew                     1
Marbled Godwit                          4
Least Sandpiper                         1
Short-billed Dowitcher               2 
  By call
dowitcher sp.                              1
Heermann's Gull                        19
Western Gull                              ~230 
  Approx. 55 juvs
California Gull                           12 
  Among which were a minimum of 5 juvsLeast Tern                      16   Only 2 juvs seen
See e-bird for total list and comments:
http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S14938788

Mark HolmgrenSanta Barbara

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Townsend's Warbler

Eric Culbs <ericculbs@...>
 

All,
An earlyish 1st fall male in Carpinteria Creek @ 6th street this morning working the scrub oak across from the daycare center. Wilson's Warblers were common with a minimum 7 counted between here and Carpinteria Ave.

Eric Culbertson
Carpinteria

Hermit Warbler

Jamie Chavez
 

I had one today (HY imm) in pines at the Vandenberg AFB Tracking Station
which sits on a hill just south Casmaila in the north county. Not
unexpected for the date but a reminder to start checking your conifers.

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

New Yard Bird: Belted Kingfisher

Florence Sanchez
 

A Belted Kingfisher is not a rare bird in Santa Barbara County, but a Belted Kingfisher hanging around our neighborhood on the upper east side is unexpected.  I saw it yesterday--first heard its call, then saw it flying around, perching briefly in a couple of tall trees before it took off to the north.  Tom told me he saw it a couple of days earlier this week, exhibiting pretty much the same behavior.  No one nearby that I know of has a fish pond, so I'm not sure what drew it in.  The bird was a male.

Florence Sanchez

early migrant Virginia Rail?

Dave Compton <davcompton@...>
 

Oscar Johnson forwarded me a photo of a dead bird that his brother took on De la Vina St in Santa Barbara yesterday, 15 August. The bird in the photo is a juvenile Virginia Rail.
 
OK, a Virginia in August in southern Santa Barbara County is not necessarily that interesting. But that this bird would wind up dead in a planter in front of a doctor's office (as Oscar described the situation) indicates it was a migrant. The earliest arrival of a fall migrant cited in Lehman (2013) is 16 August. Phil Unitt's San Diego County Bird Atlas (2004) suggests migrants don't show up in numbers until mid-September. A brief check of some other California sources seems to confirm this pattern of the earliest birds coming in mid-August, but most not showing up until mid-September.
 
So, not only does this bird appear to be very early, but it's a juvenile, which you wouldn't necessarily expect to be the first migrant Virginia Rail to show up. Given the location, it seems unlikely this bird was doing anything but migrating. So, an interesting random bit of data on migration by this species.
 
Incidentally, the Birds of North America account does cite one study of radio-marked adults in Iowa, which dispersed from their breeding grounds from 19 July to 1 August. It's hard to know how that relates to the timing of this bird showing up, if at all, but it may suggest the poor, deceased rail on De la Vina St might not be as early as the California sources suggest. Either way, this is probably one species whose migration we just don't understand very well.
 
Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

reddish egret still at SYRE

Don Tate
 

Reddish egret posed pretty on snag about 60 ft from viewing platform at Ocean Park, at 12:25 PM Thursday. Lower bill base is definitely pink. Has warmish tones in plumage, but still pretty blue for a reddish, judging by pix online. It's not same individual as July bird, which had shaggy pinkish plumage on head. (Or could moult have changed that?) 

For future reference, please remember that this reporter has aging eyes, and usually carries small binocs (sorry!). 

Don Tate, Lompoc

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Late nesting records

Mark Holmgren <maholmgren@...>
 

Every so often Dave Compton or I remind folks that we maintain a file of breeding records for birds in SB County, and that we welcome your records.  This time of year is interesting because the question of the duration of the breeding season tells us a lot about how different habitats, and the conditions in different habitats, support breeding and post-breeding care.  For example, yesterday it was interesting that of 40 Cliff Swallow nests constructed this spring and summer under the Harder Stadium bleachers at UCSB, 2 nests were still active with adults singing and bringing food to nestlings.  

The minimum information we need for any nesting event is of course location, date, and exactly what was seen to indicate the stage of nesting, and the observer's name.  Other information needed is the nest substrate (tree, building, on the ground), the species of tree, and the height of the nest.

We have gathered several thousand breeding records.  I can easily anticipate that some day we might ask those folks who retain field notes to mine those for additional records so that we can provide a report on what we know about the breeding periods of birds in SB County.  This would nicely complement Paul Lehman's Birds of Santa Barbara County, which doesn't specifically address breeding periods. 

Mark Holmgren
Santa Barbara

Devereux Slough shorebirds

Mark Holmgren <maholmgren@...>
 

At about 1pm today, viewed from these two points:http://tinyurl.com/mzcubxb:
6 Least Sandpipers
9 Western Sandpipers
2 Wilson's Phalarope
all these above were juveniles

7 or so Black-necked Stilts
1 Semipalmated Plover
several Killdeer
No Snowy Plovers


A minimum amount of water in the main channel of the slough only.

Mark Holmgren
Santa Barbara

new reddish egret SYRE

Don Tate
 

Weds 4 PM, on the island off the viewing platform. All blue-gray, head not shaggy or pinkish, vs the July bird.

Don Tate, Lompoc

Re.: Sage Sparrow Split

Ed Stonick <edstonick@...>
 

Hi birders!



Yes, they are nice photos, but. (maybe it's just me!) they all look pretty
much the same with no really obvious differences.



The colors, shades, lines in photos can vary so much. I think ID by
photograph is going to be very difficult and inconclusive. Song and
geography (breeding season) will be about the only way to know for sure.



Regards,

Ed



Ed Stonick

Pasadena, CA



From: sbcobirding@... [mailto:sbcobirding@...]
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 5:55 AM
To: sbcobirding@...
Subject: [sbcobirding] Digest Number 4667

<mailto:sbcobirding-unsubscribe@...?subject=Unsubscribe> >

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Jamie Chavez
 

I thought why not ask Mr. Royse about the birds in his photos, so I sent a
message asking for details if he had any to offer. While I may not remember
many of the birds I've seen over the years, when I see one I've
photographed somewhere it often triggers my memory about that specific bird
or where I was when I photographed it. His reply may not clear up issues
related to ID but it is pasted below nonetheless.

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

------------------------------------


Hi,

I'll try to answer your questions.

I'm pretty sure that they're all identified correctly to the subspecies.
The canescens were taken in different lighting situations and are of 2
different individuals (the last photo being a different bird I think).
Those canescens were all taken in southern Kern County near Maricopa I
think it is (at the famous LeConte's Thrasher spot) and were all singing at
the time. The amount of black on the birds show them to be definitely
canescens and not nevadensis.

All the nominate belli were taken in the Otay Mountain Wilderness in San
Diego County.

The Sagebrush Sparrows were taken in New Mexico on their wintering grounds
at the Bosque del Apache NWR.

I took off exact locations from my website years ago because too many other
photographers started going to the areas I posted, some going as far as
publishing guides where to photograph birds. It especially became a problem
here in Ohio when I would find uncommon passerines on their breeding
grounds.

Bob Royse

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Nick Lethaby
 

I was surprised by the Sagebrush photos and the lack of streaking. Not very encouraging from an identification point of view.

From: Wes Fritz [mailto:wes-fritz@...]
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 9:55 AM
To: Lethaby, Nick
Cc: Jamie Chavez; Sbcobirding
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Hi all,

I would think that photographing them on the breeding grounds would have validity to the sub-specie and would think that caution should be used in winter dispersing birds. I too am curious about the number of sample birds that were photographed. I also wonder about geographical cline in this complex of birds. The " Sagebrush" photo set seems to show a bird with slight streaking on the mantle and another with more unorganized streaking and yet one with little to almost no streaking on the back.
This was just a quick glance at the photos and I am looking forward to looking at them closer when I get a little time.

Good birding.

Wes Fritz
805-895-0685
wes-fritz@...<mailto:wes-fritz@...>
Solvang CA.
On Aug 13, 2013, at 7:46 AM, "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby@...<mailto:nlethaby@...>> wrote:


Jamie:

Since the canascens were taken in January how do we know these are not nevadensis? Also it would be good to know how many individuals are involved in the photo sequences.

Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: sbcobirding@...<mailto:sbcobirding%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:sbcobirding@...<mailto:sbcobirding%40yahoogroups.com>] On Behalf Of Jamie Chavez
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:35 AM
To: Sbcobirding
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

In the link Mike provided there is a series of photos by Robert Royse who probably just updated his photo site based on the new split. His photos of all three "Sage" Sparrows - Sagebrush, Bell's and intermediate Bell's canescens are among the best I've seen on the net in the past week or so because he has them all grouped together in one spot for comparison. This will show you the obvious and subtle differences between them. Here is the link to Mr. Royse's photos, just click the individual links to see the different types:

http://www.roysephotos.com/SageSparrow.html

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Michael D. Stiles <mstiles@...<mailto:mstiles%40calpoly.edu>>wrote:

**


Thanks Jamie for the write-up about the Sage Sparrow split. I came across
this today regarding vocalizations of the group:

http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/3040

The two species may be separable by song, but the subspecies nevadensis
and canescens are not only intermediate in plumage, but in song also.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos



------------------------------------

For everything birding in Santa Barbara County: http://www.sbcobirding.com Yahoo! Groups Links

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Wes Fritz
 

Hi all,

I would think that photographing them on the breeding grounds would have validity to the sub-specie and would think that caution should be used in winter dispersing birds. I too am curious about the number of sample birds that were photographed. I also wonder about geographical cline in this complex of birds. The " Sagebrush" photo set seems to show a bird with slight streaking on the mantle and another with more unorganized streaking and yet one with little to almost no streaking on the back.
This was just a quick glance at the photos and I am looking forward to looking at them closer when I get a little time.

Good birding.

Wes Fritz
805-895-0685
wes-fritz@...
Solvang CA.
On Aug 13, 2013, at 7:46 AM, "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby@...> wrote:

Jamie:

Since the canascens were taken in January how do we know these are not nevadensis? Also it would be good to know how many individuals are involved in the photo sequences.

Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: sbcobirding@... [mailto:sbcobirding@...] On Behalf Of Jamie Chavez
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:35 AM
To: Sbcobirding
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

In the link Mike provided there is a series of photos by Robert Royse who probably just updated his photo site based on the new split. His photos of all three "Sage" Sparrows - Sagebrush, Bell's and intermediate Bell's canescens are among the best I've seen on the net in the past week or so because he has them all grouped together in one spot for comparison. This will show you the obvious and subtle differences between them. Here is the link to Mr. Royse's photos, just click the individual links to see the different types:

http://www.roysephotos.com/SageSparrow.html

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Michael D. Stiles <mstiles@...>wrote:

**


Thanks Jamie for the write-up about the Sage Sparrow split. I came across
this today regarding vocalizations of the group:

http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/3040

The two species may be separable by song, but the subspecies nevadensis
and canescens are not only intermediate in plumage, but in song also.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

------------------------------------

For everything birding in Santa Barbara County: http://www.sbcobirding.com Yahoo! Groups Links


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Dan Cooper
 

Nick -

I was thinking the same thing - and just labeling them "California" isn't particularly helpful (though I agree, they're terrific photos to show plumage variation). As we start taking (and reviewing) more photos of these birds, it wouldn't hurt to remind people to be as specific as possible about the location and date, not to mention behavior such as territoriality. All three subspecies may be occurring very close by at different times of year, with at least two overlapping at least some of the time. [Taking nearby Kern River Valley (Kern Co.) as an example, we might be dealing with breeding "coastal" Bell's up in foothill chamise chaparral north of Kernville (where not mapped as such by Cicero 2010, nor by Grinnell and Miller 1944), then "interior" Bell's breeding in Great Basin scrub (e.g., Artemisia tridentata) east of Lake Isabella, joined by wintering nevadensis/"Sagebrush Sparrow". Obviously we don't know how far northwest nevadansis gets (i.e., toward Ventura/SB County) on a regular basis, but a similar situation could be occurring in the north counties, with birds segregating out by habitat, depending on time of year.]

While I'm at it, at least the coastal Bell's, and maybe the others, seem to be very patchy in where they nest, with large areas of seemingly suitable habitat unoccupied. So as people explore the backcountry up north, noting abundance of the birds detected, and where "Sage Sparrows" *aren't* (maybe in ebird checklist notes for the day), would also be informative.

Dan Cooper
Ventura Co.

--- In sbcobirding@..., "Lethaby, Nick" <nlethaby@...> wrote:

Jamie:

Since the canascens were taken in January how do we know these are not nevadensis? Also it would be good to know how many individuals are involved in the photo sequences.

Nick



------------------------------------

For everything birding in Santa Barbara County: http://www.sbcobirding.com Yahoo! Groups Links

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Nick Lethaby
 

Jamie:

Since the canascens were taken in January how do we know these are not nevadensis? Also it would be good to know how many individuals are involved in the photo sequences.

Nick

-----Original Message-----
From: sbcobirding@... [mailto:sbcobirding@...] On Behalf Of Jamie Chavez
Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 6:35 AM
To: Sbcobirding
Subject: Re: [sbcobirding] County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

In the link Mike provided there is a series of photos by Robert Royse who probably just updated his photo site based on the new split. His photos of all three "Sage" Sparrows - Sagebrush, Bell's and intermediate Bell's canescens are among the best I've seen on the net in the past week or so because he has them all grouped together in one spot for comparison. This will show you the obvious and subtle differences between them. Here is the link to Mr. Royse's photos, just click the individual links to see the different types:

http://www.roysephotos.com/SageSparrow.html

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA


On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Michael D. Stiles <mstiles@...>wrote:

**


Thanks Jamie for the write-up about the Sage Sparrow split. I came across
this today regarding vocalizations of the group:

http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/3040

The two species may be separable by song, but the subspecies nevadensis
and canescens are not only intermediate in plumage, but in song also.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------

For everything birding in Santa Barbara County: http://www.sbcobirding.com Yahoo! Groups Links

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Jamie Chavez
 

In the link Mike provided there is a series of photos by Robert Royse who
probably just updated his photo site based on the new split. His photos of
all three "Sage" Sparrows - Sagebrush, Bell's and intermediate Bell's
canescens are among the best I've seen on the net in the past week or so
because he has them all grouped together in one spot for comparison. This
will show you the obvious and subtle differences between them. Here is the
link to Mr. Royse's photos, just click the individual links to see the
different types:

http://www.roysephotos.com/SageSparrow.html

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 9:52 AM, Michael D. Stiles <mstiles@...>wrote:

**


Thanks Jamie for the write-up about the Sage Sparrow split. I came across
this today regarding vocalizations of the group:

http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/3040

The two species may be separable by song, but the subspecies nevadensis
and canescens are not only intermediate in plumage, but in song also.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos

In Memoriam: Joy Parkinson

Florence Sanchez
 

(Thanks to Jamie Chavez for permission to post this announcement to the list.)

Joy Parkinson, long-time resident of Santa Barbara and enthusiastic birder and community activist, passed away Friday, August 9, 2013.  Joy was a founding member of Santa Barbara Audubon and served several terms as its president, most notably during the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.  For many years, she coordinated the Sierra Club's cruises to the Channel Islands on the Swift of Ipswich (pretty much all we had for regular pelagic cruises before the Condor and Condor Express).  She served on the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission and along with Charis Bratt and James Slater, was instrumental in getting Lake Los Carneros and the surrounding land dedicated as a county park for all to enjoy, rather than becoming a private housing development on the lake.  She was the first Director of the Coastal Information Resource Center and in that capacity organized a conference on the past and future of the Goleta Slough.  More recently, she served on the
Committee for the Future of Bishop Ranch, an area she and her long-time friend Jan Hamber had surveyed on many Santa Barbara Christmas counts.

Joy was most noted for her gift of friendship.  She loved to share her enthusiasm for birds and the natural world and was "mother Audubon" to many young birders in the county.  She continued her interest and support of Audubon throughout these last few months.  She was thrilled to be able to attend Audubon's 50th anniversary celebration this summer even though her health was declining.

In accordance with her wishes, her family plans no memorial services.  But when you are checking the trees around Stow House for vagrants or standing on the bridge at Lake Los Carneros watching for rails, please say "thanks, Joy."  It will be a fitting memorial tribute.

Florence Sanchez

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Mike Stiles
 

Thanks Jamie for the write-up about the Sage Sparrow split. I came across this today regarding vocalizations of the group:

http://earbirding.com/blog/archives/3040

The two species may be separable by song, but the subspecies nevadensis and canescens are not only intermediate in plumage, but in song also.


Mike Stiles
Los Osos

10 Hermit Warblers, Figueroa Mountain

Peter Gaede
 

SB Birders—

I visited Pino Alto, the upper portion of the Davy Brown trail and the Ranger Peak area with Will Knowlton and Jeremy Pohlman today. Although no big surprises, Hermit Warblers were showing well. We had 7 at Pino Alto and 3 at Ranger Peak. Other warblers present included Wilson's (7); Townsend's (1); BT Gray (2); and Yellow (1).

There were also good numbers of Pygmy Nuthatches up top near Pino Alto, with several groups totaling 20-25 birds.

Peter Gaede
Santa Barbara

Re: County Bird List Update & Sage Sparrow Difficulties

Jamie Chavez
 

I've had a couple of replies saying the link to Kimball's message posted on
ID Frontiers didn't work. Rather than me trying get this linked correctly
his reply is pasted below. Sorry for the confusion.

--
Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA

-------------------
Jamie,

Your Santa Maria bird certainly looks like a good candidate for *Artemisiospiza
nevadensis* (Sagebrush Sparrow) the sharp and extensive dorsal streaking,
the relatively thin malar (with white mixed in with the black in the
anterior portion), and possibly the longer primary extension (hard to tell
from the photos, and maybe not reliable in the field) all support that ID.
Also, Im guessing that pale Sage Sparrows on the coast of California in
late fall and winter are far more likely to be highly migratory Sagebrush
Sparrows than *canescens* Bells Sparrows. Mojave desert *canescens* move
widely through the mountains of Los Angeles region after breeding (roughly,
May through summer), but I dont know of any evidence that they move over
the mountains onto the coastal lowlands.

In Los Angeles County the only coastal specimens of pale Sage Sparrows
are November birds from the San Fernando Valley (coastal lowlands) and San
Clemente Island; both of these measure out to *nevadensis*(and plumage is
also consistent with Sagebrush Sparrow). This despite the fact that *
canescens* is a common breeder on the desert slope of the county and
wanderers into the mountains (post-breeding) regularly. I would guess that
San Joaquin Valley *canescens* behave similarly, with limited post-breeding
dispersal but no long-distance movements to the coast.

Yes, the eBird data will be a mess until the next eBird taxonomic updates
and a lot of scrutiny of the existing data entered under the now
paraphyletic category of Interior Sage Sparrow (*canescens/nevadensis*).

I suspect that with the publication of the AOU checklist supplement in the
July *Auk* there will be lengthy discussions on this list serve of the
characters that separate *canescens *and *nevadensis* in the field. Its a
work in progress, and certainly wont be easy, given that measurements may
be the most reliable way to separate them (*nevadensis* being larger).

Kimball

Kimball L. Garrett
Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA
213-763-3368
kgarrett@...
http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collections/ornithology

*From:* NBHC ID-FRONTIERS Frontiers of Field Identification [
mailto:BIRDWG01@... <BIRDWG01@...>] *On Behalf Of
*Jamie Chavez
*Sent:* Wednesday, June 26, 2013 7:03 AM
*To:* BIRDWG01@...
*Subject:* [BIRDWG01] Sage & Bell's Sparrow ID

With the pending split of Sage Sparrow I wondered if anyone had an opinion
as to the identity of a bird I photographed in October 2006 in coastal
Santa Barbara County, CA. Since this bird shows significant streaking on
the mantle and a weaker black moustachial stripe it is clearly not a
coastal Bell's Sparrow. However, It seems to me there will be potential for
confusion between the CA "interior" canescens, now to be lumped with belli
rather than nevadensis, and a true interior Great Basin Sage Sparrow which
shares similar physical traits. In particular, the amount of streaking on
the mantle. How reliable or variable is this for separating these two?

Archives: http://listserv.ksu.edu/archives/birdwg01.html