East Pinery Road and Foxen Canyon Road

Florence Sanchez

I hiked East Pinery Road this morning.  It was a beautiful morning and there was a fair amount of bird activity in places, especially near the start of the trail, but I failed to find anything remarkable.  Red-breasted Nuthatches continue in good number but I didn't turn up any Pygmy Nuts or MOuntain Chickadees today.  In a good-sized flock of Juncos feeding on the road edge, I found a slate-gray one with a dark hood.  I think that would make it a "Cassier's" Junco (var. cismontanus according to Sibley) rather than a Slate-colored.

I decided to go to Foxen Canyon ROad afterwards to see if I could pick up on the raptor display that others have reported.  I was not disappointed, though I found you have to drive a few miles to get to good viewing areas.  I found at least 8 American Kestrels, 1 Prairie Falcon, 2 Turkey Vultures, 2 Ferruginous Hawks (light phase), at least 8 Red-tailed Hawks, and 2 Golden Eagles, 1 adult and 1 immature.  However the big surprise was also finding 2 adult BALD Eagles here as well (no bodies of water in sight!).  They went after the adult Golden Eagle when it was flying overhead and they drove it away.  They might be a mated pair because I saw them perched together in a tree later in the afternoon.

Florence Sanchez

Zone-tailed Hawk at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Casey Richart


Today at 1340 I had an immature Zone-tailed Hawk with a finely barred tail at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. First seen at eye-level and close from the Island View. I noticed the hawk-face with the instance of recognition including the yellow mandibles. The bird flew past the point in a quick glide and dived upon some passerines in a fruiting palm. It soared from there, harassed by a couple of crows, and rose on a thermal, giving multiple confirmations of yellow mandible and barred tail -- it held its legs down during one turn. The bird flew out of sight south out over the alluvial plain of Mission Canyon towards the museum or Rocky Nook. Strong dihedral and rocky flight strongly suggest Turkey Vulture, as well as dark aspects of color. Very cool bird, and a juvenile it's a bummer that we missed it on the CBC, but hopefully it wasn't just wasn't passing through and it'll winter here for a few years.

Casey Richart
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

Monday Birding

Florence Sanchez

I checked out the Tipu trees on David Love Place this morning but did not pull out a Lucy's Warbler.  However, I got a later start than I would have liked.

I checked out some of NCOS next.  I did not locate any White-fronted Geese in with the Canadas, but I did not walk the full preserve so some could have been out of sight.  Redheads continue there.

I finished up at Devereux.  I can't remember the last time I saw it this full. Both overflow areas on the east side of the road have water in them.  If we get a high tide with the next full moon, I suspect the sandbar will break.  Duck number were not high here, but i picked up the continuing Tropical Kingbird by the half bridge.

Florence Sanchez

Preliminary Results: Santa Barbara CBC 120

Rebecca Coulter

Data from Saturday’s Santa Barbara CBC are still coming in, and the job of compiling from 200+ birders has just begun. While “where are the birds?” has been a constant question throughout 2019, once again our diligent scouting and surveying of the 15-mile circle on count day paid off with a preliminary species total of 205. However, as we look at individual species numbers this week, we will no doubt find some record lows as we tally those totals.

Notable hits:
TUFTED DUCK, returning for its 7th winter in Santa Barbara, thankfully appeared on Lauro Reservoir after many days at the UCSB Lagoon and then not seen for 3 days
MOUNTAIN QUAIL several along Camino Cielo
AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN, seen by several birders around the circle, on the water and aloft
SPOTTED OWL, several at mountain locations
NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL several at mountain locations
WARBLING VIREO present for its seventh season at Bohnett Park
PACIFIC WREN at Kinevan Rd
LAWRENCE’S GOLDFINCH at Gibraltar Reservoir
SWAMP SPARROW, La Cumbre Country Club
ORCHARD ORIOLE, two in Isla Vista
HOODED ORIOLE, one of a pair that has lingered this winter behind the Mission on private property
BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER at several locations
LUCY’S WARBLER, David Love Pl.
HERMIT WARBLER at the Music Academy
WILSON’S WARBLER, several at the Zoo and a couple of others around the circle

Again this year, a new species was recorded on the CBC: YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT HERON. This species has made a remarkable push northwestward in a short time. Paul Lehman explains: “The first YCNH for Santa Barbara County was in early 2010 (western Ellwood). The species started nesting at Point Mugu about that same time (the only previous nest site in CA was San Diego) and numbers started showing up routinely at Carpinteria Salt Marsh between late fall and early spring annually beginning in late 2014. They now are found rarely but regularly north to SLO Co.”

Notable misses:
GREATER SCAUP, none apparent with the flocks of the more common Lessers
COMMON GALLINULE, regularly seen this fall/winter at NCOS and Lake Los Carneros
RED CROSSBILL, seen here and there around Devereux but absent on count day
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK, two photographed on 1 January, but disappeared on Saturday

Thank you to everyone who participated. Remember that Count Week continues through Tuesday, so keep us posted on your sightings of other rarities or missed species. And stay tuned for updates and a link to some photo highlights from the day. 

Rebecca Coulter
CASB CBC Compiler

Hooded mergansers in Alice Keck Park

Dika Golovatchoff

At 8 a.m. this morning there was a pair of hooded mergansers swimming in the pond. They were alone until the Mallards entered after which I could not refind the mergansers. There seems to be a resident black-crowned night heron which I often see sunning itself on a rock. The Townsend's warbler and ruby-crowned Kinglet are mostly very active in the branches hanging over the bridge. There is also a resident pair of common yellowthroat around the creek bed which is now dry and muddy.

Fw: [sbcobirding] Lucy’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray

Pete Wolf

The Lucy's Warbler was on the East side of DLP a little over an hour ago. North East corner of David Love Place and Botello road. Lots of Townsend's Warblers - especially in that tree. Pretty much checked all the trees along the road from the SCE Facility to 81 David Love Place - both sides and did not find the Black-throated Gray Warbler.

----- Forwarded Message -----

From: Dave Compton <davcompton60@...>
To: Group Moderators <>
Sent: Sunday, January 5, 2020, 08:43:31 AM PST
Subject: [sbcobirding] Lucy’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray

During the Santa Barbara CBC yesterday, the Lucy’s Warbler and a male Black-throated Gray Warbler continued in the tipu trees at the northern part of the SCE facility on the west side of Davis Love Place in Goleta. The Lucy’s has also been seen on the east side of the road. A few other random sightings included a female Bullock’s Oriole at the northeast corner of University and Ribera in Goleta and four pintails and three Blue-winged Teal at Basin K in Goleta Slough, as seen from the UCSB bluffs.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara 

Common Gallinule at Laguna Blanca

Julie Scotland

A day late for CBC but still within the week range, a Common Gallinule made an appearance at Laguna Blanca today thanks to some good spotting by Conor.

Also of note, the Common Goldeneye continues and a few Blue-winged Teal.

Julie Scotland
Portland, OR 

Julie Scotland
Santa Barbara, CA

Lucy’s Warbler, Black-throated Gray

Dave Compton

During the Santa Barbara CBC yesterday, the Lucy’s Warbler and a male Black-throated Gray Warbler continued in the tipu trees at the northern part of the SCE facility on the west side of Davis Love Place in Goleta. The Lucy’s has also been seen on the east side of the road. A few other random sightings included a female Bullock’s Oriole at the northeast corner of University and Ribera in Goleta and four pintails and three Blue-winged Teal at Basin K in Goleta Slough, as seen from the UCSB bluffs.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara 

Re: White Pelicans on UCSB Lagoon

Kirill Shtengel

There is flock of about 50 white pelicans wintering in the Santa Clara river estuary in Ventura. I regularly see smaller groups flying up and down along the coast around there, with the river estuary seemingly being their base. What are the chances some of them can venture as far as Santa Barbara?

Black-and-white warbler

Eric Culbertson <ebc101@...>

One was along the southern edge of the tipu filled Commuter Lot at the intersection of W Carrillo St and Castillo St in Santa Barbara this afternoon.

Eric Culbertson

White Pelicans on UCSB Lagoon

Florence Sanchez

I don't know if these were found earlier during Christmas Count routes this morning.  I decided to walk around the Lagoon this lovely afternoon and while I was there, 3 White Pelicans flew in and settled on the Lagoon.  There was schooling activity form some small fish, which was being pursued avidly by Double Crested Cormorants and (when the school got close to shore) a big flock of Snowy Egrets (40+).  The Pelicans joined in the fishing from time to time; otherwise, they floated off together.  I got some lousy photographs if they are needed.

Florence Sanchez

(PS--On my walk down to the Farmer's Market early this morning, I encountered a group of 9 Cassin's Kingbirds sitting together on utility wires at Islay and Chapala Streets.  This seemed like a high number for this residential location.)

Eurasian Wigeon

John Deacon


There is a Eurasian Wigeon at the northern most pond at the Santa Maria Mesa Road Ponds hotspot. Sorry about the lousy pic. He insists on staying on the far side.

John Deacon

John Deacon

Yesterday: Lucy's & Orchard, T.K., White fronts & Cackling

Paul Lehman

On Friday the 3rd, there were two Greater White-fronted geese and one Cackling Goose in the Devereaux and NCOS area in different small groups of Canada Geese. The female-type Orchard Oriole continues in the 6700 block of Sueno Road in Isla Vista,, in the bloomimg cape honeysuckle patches. A Tropical Kingbird that is undoubtedly the same bird that Dave Compton had a while back continues along the border between Isla Vista and UCSB, not far from the student health building, and the Lucy's Warbler that he found a few days ago continues in the tipu trees along David Love Place in Goleta near the airport, where there was also a male Black-throated Gray Warbler as well.

Paul Lehman, San Diego

continuing White-throated Swifts at 154, 2020-01-03

Wim van Dam

Today at 2pm there were many easy-to-see-with-the-naked-eye-while-driving WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS at the 154 between the 28.00 mile marker and the Old San Marcos Rd crossing.  


Wim van Dam (Solvang, CA)
SBCO #385: Neotropic Cormorant

Summer Tanager @ UCSB

Adrian O'Loghlen

Gayle Hackamack and I found a young male Summer Tanager near the UCSB Student Health Center this am (Fri).  It was catching and consuming bees (see photos) in a tree located at the south west corner of the Health Center building.  This may be the same bird Dave Compton reported in that area at the end of November.

Adrian O'Loghlen

Correction... Orchid Oriole at NCOS

Pete Wolf

The oriole I saw this morning was apparently a young male Orchid Oriole... chestnut coloring coming in on the chest and underside of tail... Thank you Rebecca!!! :)

Oriole (Hooded?) at NCOS and Northern Harrier

Pete Wolf

This morning at NCOS I found what I believe to be a Hooded Oriole... photo included in checklist:

In addition the Northern Harrier was quite active around the Phelps Bridge area.

Baltimore Oriole

Paul Lehman

Thursday afternoon I had a female Baltimore Oriole of medium brightness in the Santa Ynez Apartments (student housing) near the corner of Los Carneros and El Colegio roads, immediately on the north side of Isla Vista. It is in literally the only blooming eucalyptus tree near the east end of the apartment complex, which has fine little white flowers and rough bark, so it it's the same type of eucalyptus that gets pink flowers but in this case the flowers are white, and the unit numbers here of the nearby building are 304 305 306 and 307. Near the west end of the apartment complex there are several pink-flowered eucalyptus, but that's a fair distance away.

Paul Lehman

La Cumbre Peak was dea this morning BUT. . .

Florence Sanchez

I found a Townsend's Solitaire in the Coulter Pines along the road about .5 miles east on ECC from the parking area at the Peak.  It was feeding actively in the pines on either side of the road and presented good views.  Note that this has been a good location for them in past years.  (Best time to look here is late morning--I saw this bird around 11 a.m.). Otherwise, birding at the Peak was REALLY dead.  In fact I didn't pull out a single bird from the pines area. There were Scrub Jays and Wrentits in the nearby chaparral.  

At the large communications station to the west, birding was also slow.  I had a few chaparral birds, including a single Sooty Fox Sparrow.  Unusual for this location was a single American Robin.  I heard a Hairy Woodpecker's call in the pines as I left this spot.

Florence Sanchez

Ross's, Yellow, Western, Goldeneye

Paul Lehman

A morning of birding on Thursday unfortunately produced only a few minor birds of note. A new Yellow Warbler is along the railroad tracks behind the Hilton hotel and Chase Palm Park. That area actually has a fair number of birds and blooming trees although obviously it lacks a certain aesthetic. A Western Tanager was along Cliff Drive just east of Hope Ranch, there's a female-type Common Goldeneye on Laguna Blanca, and unfortunately outside the count circle there's a Ross's Goose grazing with the coots at the pond in front of the clubhouse at Sandpiper Golf course, where also hooded merganser. Still at least two yellow-crowned night-herons roosting with the black crowneds at Goleta Beach Park.

Paul Lehman, San Diego