Elwood and NCOS today

Florence Sanchez

I walked the upper end of NCOS today and continued on into the Ellwood area as far as Santa Barbara Shores Road.  Not much was happening.  NCOS has some areas that might be good for shorebirds, but so far the birds aren't there.  Besides a few Black-necked Stilts, the only shorebirds seen were a singls Greater Yellowlegs that made a short touch-down at the dwindling north pond, and a single Western Sandpiper feeding at the slough's edge where Devereux Creek comes in.

My goal in the Ellwood area was to see if I could pick up the Baltimore Oriole that was photographed near Santa Barbara Shores Road.  I also tried this spot on Tuesday without success, though I did hear a suspicious call note.  One problem with birding this spot is our current overcast weather.  Orioles forage here rather high up in the eucalyptus trees and with the gray skies, there is just no color contrast and it's very hard to identify the gray-black silhouettes among the leaves.  This situation was the same this morning.  Both days, I've managed to clearly see a couple of Hooded Orioles but anything else is conjecture.  Today I had no suspicious Baltimore-type call, but there was a Bullock's Oriole in the trees--I know its chattering call notes quite well, very different  from Hooded. 

Other than that, the area was very quiet bird-wise, though I ended up picking 5 species of Woodpecker as I walked.  They have been doing a lot of wood cutting in the area, especially west of Coronado Drive.  The riparian vegetation around the puddle remains untouched but to the west, several trees have been cut back and I found other spots in the vicinity that had also been trimmed.  We will have to see what effect this has on fall migrants.

Florence Sanchez