[EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] migrants still hanging around!

Nick Lethaby <nlethaby@...>



I don’t think it’s all that surprising that Montecito would have more migrants in the neighborhoods than extreme W. Goleta. I  live just a mile E of Brad in the Winchester Canyon and don’t find that  canyon gets a ton of migrants, with it seemingly being really poor for warblers. Brad’s neighborhood has far fewer bottlebrush trees than Winchester Canyon, so is likely to get even less migrants.


The reason why Montecito should be better are as follows:


1.       Since the main stream of migrants is through the interior coastal ranges, the further you get out towards Pt Conception, the more out of the main stream you are and that means fewer migrants.

2.       Migrants moving along the coast (assuming they do that in spring, which they may not) that want to stop and feed are going to reach places like Montecito first. There are zillions of ornamental plantings all along the coast so the chances are they’ll find somewhere suitable to stop before they reach west Goleta.


The only way that west Goleta can be as good or better than Montecito is if migrants are cutting across the California Bight to migrant more directly along. This is what Swainson’s Thrush does in the fall, but don’t know if they do it the spring. In general, suspect that the best days at Refugio would involve birds that have got drifted offshore a bit. However this is all speculation.




From: [] On Behalf Of Joan Lentz ( address)
Sent: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 3:03 PM
To: Sbcobirding
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] migrants still hanging around!


Hi All:

            THIS IS NOT NORMAL!  I sat down to have a perfectly quiet, boring lunch and it’s 1 pm in the afternoon — and there they are again:  all these tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks.  They’re crowding into the little water feature in my yard — 5 or 6 at a time!  It’s crazy.  And then a MacGillivray’s comes along — I can count on one hand the number of sightings of that species in my yard.  So that was fun, but basically:  I can’t get rid of the Western Tanagers, singing in fragments ( from as far away as Manning Park) and the Black-headed Grosbeaks are just insane everywhere.

            After reading Brad Hacker’s post — and then he wrote me and described his large yard in Western Goleta full of feeders and water and everything but largely devoid of migrants— and I’m thinking:  there’s gotta be something about the EASTERN coastal plain where the birds first find themselves.  IF the NE wind was blowing harder down Romero, and perhaps a bit reflected at La Cumbre, but for sure a contrast with further west, where there was no wind to speak of (e.g., Refugio), you wonder if these migrants in my yard were ones that chose not to go over these more windy, easterly canyons, and then perhaps would wait for tonight.

            AND, it also seems, that the birds may be making a certain amount of progress moving from east to west during the day.  These birds “appear” to be moving through.  I’ll see if they’re still around tonight. But OFTEN I’ve found….no …. they’ve moved on.  I mean who ever heard of a good bird list at 1 pm on a sunny day?

            What a year, huh?  There’s so much we still have to learn about bird migration! Thanks for listening.


            Joan Lentz


Nick Lethaby
Goleta, CA