Topics

SYRE and Surf


Dave Compton
 

I visited the Santa Ynez River estuary (Ocean Park) and Surf beach today. My feeling is that shorebirding at the estuary is going to be frustrating this fall migration. There were about 100 peeps there (mostly, if not all, WESTERN SANDPIPERS), and they were close enough for ID for about 5 minutes of the time I was there, spending the rest of the time north of the island, where they were  shielded from view and/or too far to ID. Not a ton of birds overall, either: a couple of WILLETS, maybe 15 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS, and of course KILLDEER and SNOWY PLOVER. The REDDISH EGRET was in easy view west of the island when I arrived, but soon flew upriver. After a walk to the west side of the railroad tracks, I couldn't refind the egret. Only one LEAST TERN around, but there was a flock of 10 CASPIANS about.

Later, I visited Surf Beach, where I did a sea watch from just west of the tracks. There was a nice size feeding frenzy within a mile of shore, with bunches of gulls, pelicans, and cormorants around a pod of common dolphins. Two humpback whales were closer to shore than I think I have seen this species. It appeared two more were well off to the northwest, where I was lucky enough to see one breeching. Five or six PIGEON GUILLEMOTS were scattered about in the water. No other alcids. I had one each of PACIFIC and COMMON LOON.

Dave Compton
Santa Barbara


John Callender
 

I was there this morning as well, and had better luck getting views of the shorebirds, I think because I started earlier (shortly after 6 a.m.). I realize that's before the park's official opening time of 8, so maybe that's frowned upon? I've done the same in the past without problems, but that could be more luck than anything else. In any event, I was the only person there when I started, and was able to get decent looks at shorebirds feeding on both sides of the railroad bridge, though later, as more people arrived, they moved further away. The highlight was five birds I'm calling Baird's Sandpipers, though they did seem chunkier than I expected and I'd appreciate feedback if people are willing to look at my (poor) photos. They were mixed in with the peeps on the west side of the railroad bridge across from the viewing platform. Four of them took off together and flew south down the coast while I was watching them; the fifth was still there when I left that side of the tracks around 9 a.m.

My lists and photos are here:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S71609483 - Ocean Beach Park
https://ebird.org/checklist/S71609490 - Surf Beach

John Callender
Carpinteria


John Callender
 

Hm. Looking at the photos again, I'm now wondering if the "Baird's" were Sanderlings.

John Callender
Carpinteria


John Callender
 

Thanks to the several people who replied directly to me. Yes, they're Sanderlings. Fixed in the eBird list.

John Callender
Carpinteria