[EXTERNAL] Re: [sbcobirding] Details of American Bittern sighting

Nick Lethaby



One strategy to look for bitterns is to park along the bluff on the road to Surf Station and scan the tule edges for bitterns as well as looking for them in flight. A scope is essential for this.




From: [] On Behalf Of Jamie Chavez
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2018 6:14 AM
To: rhofberg@...
Cc: Sbcobirding
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Re: [sbcobirding] Details of American Bittern sighting


Thanks for the bittern report, Rob but it came at a price. The washed-out bridge you mention is on Vandenberg. In fact, so is all of Ocean Park and Surf Beach for that matter. Ocean Park is a county park with public access but the fringes should probably be avoided. The VAFB boundary actually starts a little east of 13th Street west of Lompoc so anywhere west of there to the coast is technically on Vandenberg AFB and there are signs. Security Forces can pull anyone over and search vehicles and personal property for any reason. Also, back to back to back launches including one scheduled this morning means SF's are very active right now. Spaceflight Now is a helpful website which lists upcoming launch schedules. You can see that December is a busy month. Visitors can check this website to see what is coming up and just be aware that police are very active around those dates. Ocean Park is accessible throughout the year except during launches but wandering too far away from the park itself especially within a launch period will bring attention.



On Sun, Dec 2, 2018 at 11:12 PM Rob Hofberg <rhofberg@...> wrote:


if your pulling into off the main road to go to the main area at Ocean Park in Lompoc, there is what looks to be an old road leading out into the estuary. It goes out about 100 yards, and as you go out there the road take about a 10ft step down and keeps going. There is a small pond there which had ruddy duck, coot and both pie-billed and eared grebes. continuing past that there is a willow tree where I saw white-crowned sparrows, house finches and song sparrow. Also goods looks at the harrier, kite and Cooper's hawk. Just to the west is a cat tail reed area. As I turned to leave the bittern just rose out of the cat tails about 10 yards from me and flew off into the estuary. it was completely light tan with heavy brown streaks and the dark jaw stripe was clearly visible.

As I was leaving, I was about 1/3 of the way back I was stopped by an Air Force MP and they checked my ID and ran a check on me. Turns out I was on the base (!) . There were no signs! 

Anyway, he was very nice and told me that that used to be the 13th street bridge (I have learned that it was actually the old 35st bridge) many years ago.



Jamie Chavez
Santa Maria, CA