Cuyama Valley April 17

Florence Sanchez

Thank to all who gave me info on the Aliso Campground.  It is a lovely spot, as is the drive up to it--some stunning displays of wildflowers, especially of an incredibly blue lupine I'm not familiar with. I got there mid-morning, as I decided to check out some of Quatal Canyon first (more on that below), but it still was fairly active.  Lots of singing Black-headed Grosbeaks and a few Warblers on the Hog Springs Trail:  1 Nashville, 3 Black-throated Gray, and a couple of Yellow-rumps.  Mountain Quail were calling from the slopes of the Canyon, and I had a pair of Western Tanagers on the trail as well.  Driving out, two Roadrunners crossed the road.

I hit the intersection of Quatal Canyon Road about 7:45 this morning.  In the trees at the winery on the south side of Highway 33, I had a nice flock of Lawrence's Goldfinches and there were Tri-colored Blackbirds near the pond.  At least two pairs of Western Kingbirds are working this area and there was a Bullock's Oriole next to a house east of the winery.  Heading up Quatal Canyon Road, I walked into the sagebrush a little and found two different singing Bell's Sparrows, one quite close to the road. I heard a Scott's Oriole sing twice around mile 3.  Both California and Mountain Quail were calling.  There were some nice flowers here, including the beautiful Malacothrix featured on the cover of Clif SMith's Book on the flora of Santa Barbara County.  The entire valley floor has large patches of Goldfields in between the clumps of sagebrush.  I only went 4.7 miles on this road today (where the quarry road and Quatal Canyon Road separate) because I wanted to go on to the Aliso Campground

Driving back on Highway 166, I noticed how much the annual grasses have ripened since I went to the Carrizo Plains less than two weeks ago.  Things are changing fast, but I think the flowers will continue for a while.

Florence Sanchez