Farren Rd and Kinevan today

Rebecca Coulter

This morning I walked briefly at Farren Rd (30 mins). On the slope west of the road below the first turnout I watched three Lazuli Buntings singing and squabbling, moving back and forth over the road. Not much else around—one Ash-throated Flycatcher, a few Cliff Swallows, and a Phainopepla were the highlights besides the buntings. I was surprised to hear a Western Meadowlark singing in the field to the west of the turnout; I don’t think I’ve ever heard or seen one while birding Farren in the spring. I wondered if they might breed here, or down in Eagle Canyon to the west—Lehman indicates they are likely very uncommon, local breeders west of Goleta, though they were once more common breeders along the south coast.

I headed to Kinevan Rd. to escape the heat and walked the road from the upper bridge to the West Camino Cielo junction. Mark Holmgren was also there, and we enjoyed birding together-but-apart along the way. The expected spring arrivals were present in abundance: Warbling Vireo, Cassin’s Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, Black-headed Grosbeak, and a single Western Tanager atop a redwood snag. A couple of lingering Townsend’s Warblers sang heartily, and there are still at least half a dozen Pine Siskin at the “feeder house” near the WCC junction. Mark and I puzzled over a Zonotrichia sparrow we saw preening in the deep cover along the creek, and surmise it was a dull White-throated Sparrow. Mark may have a more detailed description—he saw it a bit more clearly than I did. Other highlights for me were Hairy Woodpecker, nesting evidence for Black Phoebe and Pacific-slope Flycatcher, and a Hermit Thrush that popped up next to my car near the upper bridge as I approached, then took off across the creek.

Rebecca Coulter