Cachuma Lake Monday

Mark Holmgren

On a pontoon boat with Cachuma Naturalist Kristin Loft, we covered 18 miles of eastern and central Cachuma Lake and its bays. The headlines were the species we did not see.  Only one pair of Canada Geese with goslings, about 20 Mallard and 2 Gadwall was the total duck count.  There was no sign of the Cackling Geese reported from here recently. Several hundred grebes were present and many were paired, but only a few pairs were courting.  No other raptors other than Red-tails (7 nests of these have been found there in the last 4 days) and a pair of Kites. While we saw very few European Starlings around the lake, there are ample starlings in the park.  Very few migrants were evident.


The most interesting observation were 2 Black-necked Stilts together along the west edge of Santa Cruz Bay. This may be the first sighting of a pair at Cachuma in the breeding period. 3 White-faced Ibis flew westward together over the lake. It was interesting to me that of the 22 herons and egrets, very few of them had longish plumes and we saw no evidence of a rookery.  (Both species have bred at Cachuma previously.) We heard 3 Rock Wrens and 2 Blue Grosbeaks.  


Not having park visitors has allowed Naturalists Kristin and Rosey to find some cool breeding birds on the lake. They will have good tours to offer once tours restart.


A list of birds and an aerial photo showing our coverage are here:


Mark Holmgren

San Marcos Pass