Date   
almost certain gray-headed junco in Vandenberg Village

Don Tate
 

I tot I taw a gray-headed junco Saturday morning out my bathroom window in S-C Vandenberg Village,  then consulted Sibley and immediately flopped back into bed. Awoke later with less than crystal-clear recollections. Night owls will understand. Blackish eye mask, gray cowl, all-yellow bill, burnt orange back but not wings. I'm 96.87% sure I remember seeing all these features, rather than confounding Sibley's artwork with the bird later. I certainly remember which illustration I matched the bird to. Just tiny niggling doubts, thus the reporting delay. Have been throwing small-grained bird seed out since Sunday, hoping to get a photo next weekend. Villagers may wish to watch their feeders.

Don Tate

Re: Foxen Canyon raptors

Florence Sanchez
 

This is the same stretch where I had good viewing about 3 weeks ago.  It's wide open facing north so it's easy to see a lot of raptors at one time.  That stretch west to Tres Hermanas Vinyard (where the road makes a sharp right and then left agin ) and a little beyond were all excellent when I was there.  Glad to hear that the show continues.

Florence Sanchez



On Sunday, January 19, 2020, 03:22:35 PM PST, Dave Compton <davcompton60@...> wrote:


Following up a month after Peter Schneekloth and then Nick Lethaby reported on the raptor show along Foxen Canyon Rd, I had a very similar experience with raptors in the area. I started by birding Zaca Station Rd, then birded Foxen Canyon from Zaca Station Rd to the area east of Sisquoc. Overall, I had to rely on finding perched birds, as it was overcast all morning and into the early afternoon, when I knocked for the day. 

As Peter mentioned back on December 13, most of the activity on Foxen Canyon Rd was focused in one area a bit west of Alisos Canyon Rd. I had particular success at this location:

34.790248, -120.179528

Here, I found 1 juv Golden Eagle, 1 subadult Bald Eagle, 6 Red-tailed Hawks, and 4 (!) Ferruginous Hawks (including 1 dark morph). 

Overall, from the intersection with Zaca Station Rd north and northwest to where Foxen Canyon Rd takes a hard left where it comes to the Sisquoc Valley, I had very similar numbers to what Nick reported on December 15:

Golden Eagle - 4 (2 adults, 1 juv, 1 ad/subadult)
Bald Eagle - 1 (subadult)
Red-tailed Hawk - 34
Ferruginous Hawk - 6
American Kestrel - 18
Prairie Falcon - 1

Prior to this, on Zaca Station Rd from 101 to Foxen Canyon Rd, I had:

Golden Eagle - 1 (probably an adult)
Red-tailed Hawk - 6
Ferruginous Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 1

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

Foxen Canyon raptors

Dave Compton
 

Following up a month after Peter Schneekloth and then Nick Lethaby reported on the raptor show along Foxen Canyon Rd, I had a very similar experience with raptors in the area. I started by birding Zaca Station Rd, then birded Foxen Canyon from Zaca Station Rd to the area east of Sisquoc. Overall, I had to rely on finding perched birds, as it was overcast all morning and into the early afternoon, when I knocked for the day. 

As Peter mentioned back on December 13, most of the activity on Foxen Canyon Rd was focused in one area a bit west of Alisos Canyon Rd. I had particular success at this location:

34.790248, -120.179528

Here, I found 1 juv Golden Eagle, 1 subadult Bald Eagle, 6 Red-tailed Hawks, and 4 (!) Ferruginous Hawks (including 1 dark morph). 

Overall, from the intersection with Zaca Station Rd north and northwest to where Foxen Canyon Rd takes a hard left where it comes to the Sisquoc Valley, I had very similar numbers to what Nick reported on December 15:

Golden Eagle - 4 (2 adults, 1 juv, 1 ad/subadult)
Bald Eagle - 1 (subadult)
Red-tailed Hawk - 34
Ferruginous Hawk - 6
American Kestrel - 18
Prairie Falcon - 1

Prior to this, on Zaca Station Rd from 101 to Foxen Canyon Rd, I had:

Golden Eagle - 1 (probably an adult)
Red-tailed Hawk - 6
Ferruginous Hawk - 1
American Kestrel - 1

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

TK, Costa's, and other Goleta area birding

Dave Compton
 

I birded a few spots around Goleta/Isla Vista today. The best birds were a Tropical Kingbird in a location where not previously reported this year, on the berm between Basin K and Basin L/M of Goleta Slough, as seen from the bluffs at UCSB; and a Costa's Hummingbird on Pardall at the eastern edge of Isla Vista. The hummingbird was calling and chasing an Anna's in front of the building on the north side of the street at the far eastern end of Pardall (5904, I think). 

Otherwise, not a ton of interest. I missed the Sueno Rd Orchard Oriole in Isla Vista, and I found none of the rarities that had been reported around the UCSB Student Health Building (Summer Tanager, TK, Nashville Warbler). I met Dave Robertson at Devereux, which had a decent numbers of ducks, including a flock of 39 Lesser Scaup, 4 Redheads, and 7 Northern Pintail. Dave pulled out a female Hooded Merganser near the half bridge. Basin K at Goleta Slough had lots of ducks, with still about 100 Green-wing Teal present, a couple of more pintails, a half dozen Blue-winged Teal, and more than a dozen Cinnamon Teal. 

Interesting that I saw as many or more of several species of ducks at two locations than we had in all of Goleta for the CBC: Cinnamon Teal, Northern Pintail, American Wigeon, and Lesser Scaup. 

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

Retraction - Carp Salt Marsh Friday 1/10

David Levasheff
 

This must be the week for mistaken IDs

On the Sandpoint trip last week the ID of the Prairie Falcon was in error. Visible dark axillaries & under wing coverts had been reported in the brief encounter with the bird and used as the basis of the ID along with brief views perched from the back. Upon analyzing backlit photos of the perched bird yesterday, it was obvious that it was a Merlin.

David

On 01/11/2020 3:21 PM, David Levasheff wrote:
Yesterday was the once yearly SBAS outing to Sandpoint road, a private gated community.

It was raptor day there... 3 Osprey, 2 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Northern Harrier, One White-tailed Kite, and Big Suprise ONE Prairie Falcon!

Mallard, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Gadwall and Red-breasted Merganser rounded out the Water Fowl.

1 Wimbrel, several Long-billed Curlew, a few Marbled Godwit, scads of Willets and several Black-bellied Plover. We were trying to ID some peeps when the Prairie Falcon flushed them and they were gone.

Lots of Savannah Sparrows working the pickle weed. King tide left us nothing to scan for on the ocean side.

Other usual suspects round out the total to 37 species for the 3 hour walk.
--
David Levasheff
Santa Barbara

Re: Retraction

Nick Lethaby
 

There may be three birds involved here. There is a bird with classic Thayer's plumage. There is a bird that I feel is definitely a hybrid based on good photos and seeing it well in the field. Joan's photo may be that hybrid but may well not be. It shows some scapular molt, but probably not as extensive as on the hybrid.

Also nothing is definite here. Based on when I used to look a lot at large gulls in the Bay Area, I believe that many GWxHerring can look identical to Thayers in 1W plumage. You then get into the whole structure issue. But how do you know if a 'giant Thayer's' is an extremely large Thayer's or a GWxHerring hybrid. Also some female Herring and GW gulls can get quite small as well. So I would contend that it is very difficult to be sure on individual gulls. When you are in a location that has more Thayer's, there will be plenty of females around that are obvious on structure and it's safe to assume that the majority of the more ambiguous are Thayer's too. I don't think we can do that down here most of the time as Thayer's are very uncommon.

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 10:48 PM Conor Scotland <scotland.conor@...> wrote:
Would love to hear what reasoning is behind the hybrid theory. I think the gull looks like a pretty classic Thayer's gull, though hard to be certain without seeing the primary tips better. In my experience, GWGU x HERG hybrids usually have larger bills and somewhat disproportionate-looking heads. This bird's head has the delicate look of Thayer's. Would also expect some more scapular molt to have happened by now if it was the hybrid, but I think we're seeing 1st cycle scapulars still on this bird, which I believe is also good for Thayer's. I could be quite wrong, and GWGUxHER can often look extremely similar to Thayer's, but am just curious why it's a hybrid.

Thanks,
Conor

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 9:02 PM Joan Lentz (cox.net address) <joanlentz@...> wrote:
Hi Folks:  Guess what?  There are at least 3 individual gulls near the dam area at Lake Los Carneros that might be candidates for Thayer’s Gull, & my list posted yesterday said that I had a Thayer’s/Iceland Gull.  Upon consultation with various people, it appears that my candidate is better for a hybrid (sigh) Glaucous-winged x Herring Gull.  If you can find Hugh Ranson’s portrait of the Thayer’s Gull, as well as Santiago Lupi’s, those are truly Thayer’s/Iceland Gull, which was seen on the CBC.
        Back to the drawing board…..as they say…..

        Joan Lentz




--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Mobile: 805 284 6200
Work: 805 562 5106

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Re: Retraction

Conor Scotland
 

Would love to hear what reasoning is behind the hybrid theory. I think the gull looks like a pretty classic Thayer's gull, though hard to be certain without seeing the primary tips better. In my experience, GWGU x HERG hybrids usually have larger bills and somewhat disproportionate-looking heads. This bird's head has the delicate look of Thayer's. Would also expect some more scapular molt to have happened by now if it was the hybrid, but I think we're seeing 1st cycle scapulars still on this bird, which I believe is also good for Thayer's. I could be quite wrong, and GWGUxHER can often look extremely similar to Thayer's, but am just curious why it's a hybrid.

Thanks,
Conor

On Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 9:02 PM Joan Lentz (cox.net address) <joanlentz@...> wrote:
Hi Folks:  Guess what?  There are at least 3 individual gulls near the dam area at Lake Los Carneros that might be candidates for Thayer’s Gull, & my list posted yesterday said that I had a Thayer’s/Iceland Gull.  Upon consultation with various people, it appears that my candidate is better for a hybrid (sigh) Glaucous-winged x Herring Gull.  If you can find Hugh Ranson’s portrait of the Thayer’s Gull, as well as Santiago Lupi’s, those are truly Thayer’s/Iceland Gull, which was seen on the CBC.
        Back to the drawing board…..as they say…..

        Joan Lentz


Retraction

Joan Lentz (cox.net address)
 

Hi Folks: Guess what? There are at least 3 individual gulls near the dam area at Lake Los Carneros that might be candidates for Thayer’s Gull, & my list posted yesterday said that I had a Thayer’s/Iceland Gull. Upon consultation with various people, it appears that my candidate is better for a hybrid (sigh) Glaucous-winged x Herring Gull. If you can find Hugh Ranson’s portrait of the Thayer’s Gull, as well as Santiago Lupi’s, those are truly Thayer’s/Iceland Gull, which was seen on the CBC.
Back to the drawing board…..as they say…..

Joan Lentz

Farren Road and Sandpiper Golf Course Pond

Florence Sanchez
 

I hiked Farren Road this morning.  While it was a crisp, lovely morning for a hike, bird activity was not remarkable.  Neither Common Ground Doves not Roadrunners deigned to be seen or heard today.  However, it was a good morning for Raptors.  I had at least 2 American Kestrels, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, 6 Turkey Vultures, and a female Northern Harrier.  Only a couple of waterfowl were on the reservoir--I did not scope.

I stopped by the Sandpiper Golf Course to see what might be in or near the pond.  I didn't find the Ross's Gull Paul Lehman found before the CBC, but there were several geese either in the water or on the far bank of the pond.  They included 4 Canada Geese, 2 White-fronted Geese, a white goose that was probably the Snow/Ross's Hybrid that has been hanging with the Canada geese, and another pale goose that I determined was an immature Snow goose.  The pond itself had a lot of Coots, Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, and a few Scaup.

(Reminder that the pond must be viewed from the dining area patio or the walkway next to it.)

Florence Sanchez

Great Blue Herons showing interest in nests

Mark Holmgren
 

At Devereux Slough, at the southwest corner, 2 nest sites from last year were occupied this afternoon Tuesday.  At one of them an adult was arranging sticks.  I saw no stick carrying. 

To the north of last year's Eucalytus nest at mid-slough (at 34.41514 -119.87725), two other adults were perched.  I'm guessing these birds were just waiting for me to leave so they could resume their nest rehabilitation in the southwestern Euc.

Mark Holmgren
Santa Barbara

Re: [EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] Iceland/Thayer's Gull at Lake Los Carneros today

Nick Lethaby
 

Joan,

 

Any other pictures of the bird that show the wing-tips better and size in relation to other gulls? Of course, maybe I should go and look myself!

 

Nick

 

From: main@sbcobirding.groups.io [mailto:main@sbcobirding.groups.io] On Behalf Of Joan Lentz (cox.net address)
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 8:39 PM
To: Sbcobirding
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] Iceland/Thayer's Gull at Lake Los Carneros today

 

Hi All:

            Today I got out birding with Libby Patten and Adrian O’Loghlen.  We walked the circumference of the lake, and when we got to the area by the dam, I saw a gull that might be good for Thayer’s, so I took a photo.  After asking the powers that be, it was confirmed as what’s now known as Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull, a first year.  I understand it was photographed on the CBC by Santiago Lupi, which I didn’t know before.  Anyway, the whole morning was beautiful & full of many birds, although nothing particularly stands out.  The Toyon show is simply amazing — I’ve never seen so many berries on those bushes on the east side of the lake.  Just a terrific source of food for all sorts of species, including of course American Robins and Cedar Waxwings.  We heard one Western Tanager somewhere over near Stow House.  Four White-tailed Kites were also around.

            Checklist here:  https://ebird.org/checklist/S63371405

           

           

            Joan Lentz

           


--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Iceland/Thayer's Gull at Lake Los Carneros today

Joan Lentz (cox.net address)
 

Hi All:
Today I got out birding with Libby Patten and Adrian O’Loghlen.  We walked the circumference of the lake, and when we got to the area by the dam, I saw a gull that might be good for Thayer’s, so I took a photo.  After asking the powers that be, it was confirmed as what’s now known as Iceland (Thayer’s) Gull, a first year.  I understand it was photographed on the CBC by Santiago Lupi, which I didn’t know before.  Anyway, the whole morning was beautiful & full of many birds, although nothing particularly stands out.  The Toyon show is simply amazing — I’ve never seen so many berries on those bushes on the east side of the lake.  Just a terrific source of food for all sorts of species, including of course American Robins and Cedar Waxwings.  We heard one Western Tanager somewhere over near Stow House.  Four White-tailed Kites were also around.
Joan Lentz

Laguna Blanca and Goleta Sewage Plant

Florence Sanchez
 

I birded both locations this morning.  I failed to turn up the Common Goldeneye again at Laguna Blanca, even though I walked to several vantage points to view as much of the lake as possible.  Ringnecked Ducks continue there though not as many as I saw two days ago.

There was an abundance of ducks at GSD.  The male Eurasian Wigeon continues and I counted at least 31 Blue-winged Teal.  I remember when this species was rare in Santa Barbara--nice to see.  Water level in the central pond is low and there is some nice exposed muck.  Wish it had been that way in August and September.  On shorebirds found this morning were the usual Black-necked Stilts, Kildeer, and Spotted Sandpiper.

Florence Sanchez

Tufted Duck, etc.

Dave Compton
 

This morning, I birded at Lauro Reservoir in the Santa Barbara foothills and at Laguna Blanca in Hope Ranch. The male Tufted Duck continued at Lauro, and the female Common Goldeneye was present at Laguna Blanca. Also of note was that I had a total of 111 Ring-necked Ducks between the two locations. The local Rin-necked Duck flock may alternate and split between these two locations and the Rancho Goleta Mobile Home Park. Up to 100+ to none could be at any of these locations at any time, based on recent observations.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara

Backyard birds - Winter Allen's

Peter Schneekloth
 

Mildly surprised to have a likely Allen's Hummingbird at my Buellton yard this time of year. First spotted a few days ago but inadequate views until today. Part of a continuing trend I suppose. Looks here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/55934026@N05/49374786368/in/dateposted-public/

Other yard birds include continuing White-throated Sparrow, occasional visits from a single Pine Siskin, Townsends Warbler and a Phainopepla along with the regular mix of winter visitors and resident birds.

Peter Schneekloth
Buellton

Hollister Ranch, Saturday

Robert Lindsay
 

I led an Audubon field trip to Hollister Ranch this morning. It was cold and windy all morning. It was also quite disappointing in terms of bird numbers and variety. A few birds of note were seen: 1 Osprey, 3 Dunlin, 1 Wilson's Snipe, and a pair of Ring-necked Duck. Other than that, only common species and darn few of those. Still, it's pretty picturesque out there.

That's all,
Rob Lindsay

Carp Salt Marsh Friday 1/10

David Levasheff
 

Yesterday was the once yearly SBAS outing to Sandpoint road, a private gated community.

It was raptor day there... 3 Osprey, 2 Red-tailed Hawk, 1 Northern Harrier, One White-tailed Kite, and Big Suprise ONE Prairie Falcon!

Mallard, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Gadwall and Red-breasted Merganser rounded out the Water Fowl.

1 Wimbrel, several Long-billed Curlew, a few Marbled Godwit, scads of Willets and several Black-bellied Plover. We were trying to ID some peeps when the Prairie Falcon flushed them and they were gone.

Lots of Savannah Sparrows working the pickle weed. King tide left us nothing to scan for on the ocean side.

Other usual suspects round out the total to 37 species for the 3 hour walk.

--

David



--
David Levasheff
Santa Barbara

Ocean Beach Park

Nick Lethaby
 

All,

I had a Ross's Goose with the Canada Goose flock today. The ponds by the road are flooded and have plenty of dabbling ducks. Virtually no grebes or diving ducks.

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Mobile: 805 284 6200
Work: 805 562 5106

--
Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA

Laguna blanca

Florence Sanchez
 

I looked for the continuing Common Goldeneye today but did not find it.  However, I was looking through a scope way across to the far side of the lake where the ducks were, so could have missed it.

Is there an optimum (and legal) spot from which to view this lake?  One of course wants to stay off the golf course.

Florence Sanchez

NCOS on Friday

Florence Sanchez
 

I walked around the entire perimeter of the reserve this morning.  It was a lovely morning but land bird activity was quite low.  In addition, the ducks numbers and variety were also down--Mostly Shovelers and a lot of Coots.  An exception was the relatively large number of Redheads.  Something spooked the flock and they took to the air to fly to Devereux.  In the air, In counted 35 individuals.

However, there were also a lot of fly-ins of various groups of Canada Geese, and with them I found a Cackling Goose and the white goose reported earlier by Mark Holmgren as a possible Snow/Ross hybrid.  The staff told me that two White-fronted Geese are still being seen but they did not show up this morning.  I also saw the continuing Burrowing Owl--it's very difficult to see and locate.

Florence Sanchez