Date   
Scouting the Sta Ynez River

Mark Holmgren
 

John Callender and I scouted the route I’ve had on the Cachuma CBC for 19 years.  John found all the special birds: Orange-crowned Warbler, Townsend’s Warbler (not common in winter on the north side of the Santa Ynez Mtns), and Chestnut-backed Chickadee.  All were seen in the vicinity of Bradbury Dam at Lake Cachuma. The chickadee, also seen below Bradbury Dam in the winters of 2011 and 2016, has never been detected on the SY River upstream of Bradbury Dam to my knowledge.

Other interesting birds were Sora, Virginia Rail, Marsh Wren, and Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warblers.

 

The Cachuma CBC is on 27 Dec this year. Contact Peter Schneekloth to participate.


Mark Holmgren

San Marcos Pass

White-throated Swifts

Steven Gaulin
 

Salvar Road is the first right off Via Chapparal N. of Cathedral Oaks in Santa Barbara. Salvar consists mainly of a bridge crossing CA 154. This morning around 10:30 there were at least a dozen White-throated Swifts flying low under and over that bridge. This is possibly relevant to the upcoming CBC and interesting given it's proximity to a probable swift nesting site under the Foothill Road bridge that stretches over Stevens Park.

Steven Gaulin
Santa Barbara

Re: Ross's Goose @ NCOS

Mark Holmgren
 

Gents,
I'm not convinced this is a Ross' Goose.  It has features that suggest a cross Ross' X Snow.
Mark

On Mon, Dec 9, 2019 at 1:58 PM Adrian O'Loghlen via Groups.Io <adrianologhlen=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
There was what I think was a Ross's Goose at North Campus Open Space this am (Mon).  It was on the south bank of the slough opposite the Phelp's Bridge (most westerly bridge at NCOS). 




Adrian O'Loghlen
Goleta

Greater? Scaups at Lake Los Carneros

Pete Wolf
 

Since November 22nd I have been trying to figure out if the two scaups at LLC are Greater or Lesser... the female was determined to be Greater last week but the male is still un-determined. This morning I did a quick run to the lake to see if they were still there... I only saw the male and got some video of it preening and at one point (about 5 seconds in) it looks like you can clearly see white on the primaries (in addition to the secondaries) on the left wing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPbRWlcKSok

After seeing the video from this morning I entered the male as "Greater" (as opposed to my previous Greater/Lesser entries) - eBird checklist (and still photo of video scene): https://ebird.org/checklist/S62174499

I also have this picture of the male from December 2nd... showing a large/wide black-tipped bill that seems to match the Greater more than the Lesser Scaup: https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/191101751

Any information from someone who knows more than me would be great :)

Thanks!

Ross's Goose @ NCOS

Adrian O'Loghlen
 

There was what I think was a Ross's Goose at North Campus Open Space this am (Mon).  It was on the south bank of the slough opposite the Phelp's Bridge (most westerly bridge at NCOS). 




Adrian O'Loghlen
Goleta

TOSO at Miguelito Canyon Park

John Deacon
 

All:

I had a Townsend's Solitaire at Miguelito Canyon Park in Lompoc this morning.  It was near the playground equipment nearest the north bridge.  It was flying back and forth between a large oak and the Toyon bush by one of the picnic tables.  Hopefully it will stick around for the CBC.  I'll post on EBird later.

The only other "noteworthy bird" was a Red Breasted Sapsucker in the creek by the park host's motorhome.  BTW, the park host is very interested in birds and is keeping a list of the birds they have seen in the park.  

John Deacon
Orcutt

--
John Deacon
Orcutt

Carp creek

Rob Denholtz
 

The Redheads have become GW Teal! Amazing transformation!


--
Rob Denholtz
Carpinteria

Carp creek

Rob Denholtz
 

9:12 AM. Two Redheads

Rob Denholtz
Carp


--
Rob Denholtz
Carpinteria

Wilson's Warbler

Hugh Ranson
 

One at the zoo where it meets East Beach. Slow going at the Music Academy.

Hugh Ranson
Santa Barbara


Devereux

Nick Lethaby
 

The Mexican Duck hybrid is back down by the broken bridge. Also a Pintail, the Eurasian Wigeon, and 10 Redheads.

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

SY Valley Birds - Sandhill Cranes, Pine Siskins

Peter Schneekloth
 

My feeders have been hosting fair numbers of American Goldfinch this winter, I've been hoping they might bring in a Pine Siskin with them and finally today one appeared. The White-throated Sparrow continues.

Once the storms cleared I went and did a bit of light scouting for the CBC along Happy Canyon road mostly. In the Santa Ynez neighborhood just feet inside the circle a Ferruginous Hawk was perched. I buzzed through Gainey Vineyard nothing of real interest. Further out Happy Canyon the Sandhill Cranes were seen out in plain view at Aliso X Happy Canyon.

Peter Schneekloth
Buellton

2 probable mute swans at SYRE

Don Tate
 

Saturday about 4:05 PM a couple of swans flew in from upriver, circled the trestle and lit on the water near the parking lot. They then flew to new positions twice in the next ten minutes. White with gray heads, necks, mid-wings and rumps. I was not au fait about tail shape, so I paid no attention to that. Legs were black, plumage just behind bill was white as in Sibley illus. Head shape seemed to match his illus. of mute. I had my Sibley on hand at the time. One bird showed orangish on side of bill. Odd if they haven't (?) been reported from here before.

Don Tate

f/wy owl

William Murdoch
 

Oops, turns out I can't id owls at 70 mph a couple of lanes over on the fwy.  Seems it was a barn owl.

--
Bill Murdoch

North Campus Open Space monthly survey

Mark Holmgren
 

The monthly survey at UCSB’s North Campus Open Space was conducted this morning by two teams, one team taking an eastern route, the other western.  61 species were detected. Highlights include:

2 Greater White-fronted Goose

Hooded Merganser, young male

Burrowing Owl

16 Mew Gulls 

Tropical Kingbird, present since 17 October at least.

Our eastern route checklist is here:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S62101133

 

Looking across Venoco Rd to Devereux Slough briefly we saw 

Eurasian Wigeon, male

A few Redhead

 

Mark Holmgren

Santa Barbara

Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker? Not so fast

Wim van Dam
 

I just read this very helpful post by Logan Kahle at the southbaybirds group, 250 miles north of us. It's about what it takes for a Northern Flicker to be a true Yellow-shafted one, as opposed to "just" a Red x Yellow-shafted intergrade. The latter is much more common in California than the former (the post mentions a 10-to-1 ratio). Here is the link, and below is the text as well:

https://groups.io/g/southbaybirds/message/20787  

In retrospect, I have been guilty of submitting dubious Yellow-shafted Flickers, but I'm going to try to do better this CBC season. 

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

Hi All,

I wanted to address an issue that has been very prevalent this Fall/Winter, particular in eBird, in the Bay Area and other parts of California--the status and identification of "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flickers. This taxa of Flicker breeds from the Great Plains east and occurs as a rare but somewhat regular vagrant in California.

Flickers with Yellow underwings and undertails are not particularly uncommon in much of the Bay Area and finding one or two in a whole day of birding is not really unexpected. The vast majority of these birds, however, are intergrade "Red-shafted" x "Yellow-shafted" Flickers. These intergrades often outnumber (seemingly) pure Yellow-shafteds by more than 10:1 and while intergrades are not really a rarity in the Bay Area, "pure" Yellow-shafteds very much are.

There have been many reports in eBird across all counties of the Bay Area of "Yellow-shafted" Flickers with the sole comments that they had yellow underwings. While a flicker with yellow underwings is definitely not a "Red-shafted" Flicker, wing color proves nothing about a bird being a pure Yellow-shafted Flicker. Below are some of the features which can be used to accurately determine if a bird is a "pure" Yellow-shafted Flicker:

1) Head Pattern. The absolute most definitive feature for flicker identification is the head and face pattern. Red-shafted birds have brown around the face right around the bill (often extending to a brownish malar on female Red-shafteds) and gray on the rest of the head. Yellow-shafted birds have clean peach-colored throat and face extending from above the bill to the top of the breast. If the birds throat has any gray at all, its a hybrid (for birds with yellow underwings). 

For reference, a "pure" Yellow-shafted Flicker face will look, more or less, exactly like this https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/83265481 plus or minus the black malar depending on sex.

2) Malar. For male flickers malar is a quick way to separate the two subspecies. Red-shafteds have red malars, and Yellow-shafteds have black malars. This by no means a flicker with an all black malar is a Yellow-shafted. It simply means that any male flicker with a mix of red and black in the malar is automatically a hybrid, and also that any seemingly pure yellow-shafted flicker, even if it ticks all of the boxes in point one, is a hybrid if there is even a single red feather in the malar

3) Nape crescent. All plumages of Yellow-shafted have a red crescent on the nape, whereas Red-shafteds do not. Hybrids can have nape crescents, but sometimes they are reduced. A full red nape crescent will be found on all pure Yellow-shafted birds

4) Underwing color. While yellow underwings means nothing towards a bird being a pure Yellow-shafted, a hint of salmon is damning trait for any potentially pure birds. While there are birds in parts of the country which consume high-carotin berries in the winter and as such get a touch of reddish under the wing, I don't believe it is really worth considering these birds in California.

An important point to realize with the identification of flickers is that, while pure Red- and Yellow-shafted Flickers show very specific and unchanging field marks, intergrades are exceptionally diverse. That is, a hybrid could look exactly like a male Red-shafted Flicker other than having a red nape crescent or a hybrid could look exactly like a pure Yellow-shafted Flicker with a red feather or two in its malar. So, when in doubt, err on the side of caution with any seemingly "Yellow-shafted" Flicker

To reiterate the points a flicker with Yellow underwings in the Bay Area is very likely to be an intergrade, but if it seems like it may be a "pure" yellow shafted you have to look very carefully at a number of features in order to be certain of that identification.

If you are submitting a "Yellow-shafted" Flicker to eBird, please keep the above points in mind, and try to address the specifically with regards to your bird. 

Anyway, hope this is useful for anyone interested in sorting out the mixed back of California Flickers. 

Happy CBC season,

Logan Kahle

San Francisco, CA

More Mesa

Guy Tingos
 

2 Short-eared Owls, 4 Northern Harriers, 3 White-tailed Kites around sunset this evening.

Guy Tingos
Santa Barbara

--
Guy Tingos
Santa Barbara

Armour Ranch Rd, 2019-12-05

Wim van Dam
 

A quick check at Armour Ranch Rd got me 3 FERRUGINOUS HAWKS, so that's good news for the Cachuma CBC. Alas, there are still no Horned Larks at this location. 

At Happy Canyon Rd x Alisos Rd I did not see the cranes. 

Wim  

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

Yellow Warbler at Goleta San District

Mark Holmgren
 

Glenn Kincaid, Adrian O’Loghlen, and I birded Goleta Sanitary District and Goleta Beach. One, possibly 2, YeWa were in the trees on the west side of the center basin. Photos will tell . . . maybe.  Eurasian Wigeon male also present, 18 Blue-winged Teal, lots of Gadwall. Checklist:
At Goleta Beach were at least 15 Black-crowned Night-Heron and 2 Yellow-crowned N-Herons, a nice smattering of gulls, terns. 

Mark Holmgren 
Santa Barbara

owl on fwy

William Murdoch
 

I meant to say: the officer was on the left shoulder just opposite the Milpas exit.

--
Bill Murdoch

owl on fwy

William Murdoch
 

An hour ago (9:30) I passed a Hiway Patrol officer off his bike, on the left shoulder, with his light flashing and what looked like a burrowing owl standing next to him.  He (the officer) was on the phone, presumably looking for help in dealing with the owl.

--
Bill Murdoch