California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica), photo by Aaron…

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica), photo by Aaron Maizlish

Schedule of upcoming bird talks and bird walks in Carpinteria

Tonight (Wednesday, September 18, 2017) I’m giving a free bird talk at the Carpinteria Veteran’s Hall (details at the link above). Part one is on corvids: Crows, jays, and magpies, with a focus on the seven corvid species regularly seen in Santa Barbara County.

Part two of the talk will cover birdwatching at Carpinteria Creek, one of the best examples of coastal riparian habitat in Southern California. This Saturday I’ll be leading a bird walk there (again, see the link above for details).

Below are a few no-frills videos I’ve made as visuals for tonight’s talk. First is a Google Earth flyby showing Carpinteria’s three major creeks from the air. See if you can spot the difference between the two channelized ones (Santa Monica and Franklin Creeks) and the unchannelized creek (Carpinteria Creek). (Hint: It’s the trees.)

Here’s a walk-through of the part of Carpinteria Creek where I’ll be leading the bird walk on Saturday:

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2xwDlE1.

Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), photo by Wikipedia…

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos), photo by Wikipedia user Captain-tucker

I’m helping to organize our local Christmas Bird Count this year, and as part of that I’ve created a page listing upcoming classes and bird walks. If you live in or around Carpinteria, California and want to participate either in the pre-count fun or the count itself (which will take place Saturday, December 16, 2017), check it out!

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2vNFIm2.

The fourth and final video in my series on sea level rise in…

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

The fourth and final video in my series on sea level rise in Carpinteria.

If you want to watch all four videos from the beginning, start here.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2w3p6G3.

lies: One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also,…

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

lies:

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted, Pokémon Go player) is that it gets you out in the world, visiting interesting places. Yesterday I was walking through the marsh when another marsh enthusiast (Kim; I’m sorry I don’t know her last name) told me about a big bird that was flopping around in the bushes next to the Franklin Creek channel. I checked it out from across the creek, and could see that it was an adult osprey. It appeared to be attached by the legs to a length of fishing line that in turn was tangled in the bushes. The bird would try to fly, making loud alarm calls, then fall down into the bushes and lie there looking upset.

Kim was calling everyone she knew trying to find someone who could help; I started calling everyone I knew. Because it was a Sunday it was hard to get someone, but eventually Kim got through to someone who got through to Niels Lameijer, a Carpinterian who works with the Ojai Raptor Center as part of their rescue and rehabilitation program, and shortly thereafter he was on the scene. Here’s some video I shot of Niels rescuing the bird.

Warning: Includes a closeup toward the end showing the bird’s bleeding leg, impaled by the hooks of a fishing lure. So if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing maybe best not to watch.

In thinking about it, I think the likeliest scenario is that the bird dove onto the lure while someone was fishing with it, mistaking it for an injured fish (which, after all, is a lure’s goal). Presumably the human at the other end of the line then either cut the line or it broke, allowing the osprey to fly away.

I don’t want to think badly of the fisherperson(s) involved without knowing more about what happened. It’s possible they were fishing legally and just didn’t realize the osprey was interested in their lure. It’s also possible, though, that it was someone fishing inside the marsh, which is illegal, though I’ve sometimes seen people (usually kids) doing it along the nearby Santa Monica Creek channel. I’ve tended to turn a blind eye to that in the past, but if I see it in the future I’m going to be more vocal.

Niels sent an email today saying that the bird is doing well, and should soon be released back into the wild. I hope to see it flying over the marsh again soon.

Reblogging myself with the followup video of the bird being released in the marsh the next day (Monday). Nothing icky-looking about this one; just a beautiful raptor going back where it belongs.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2thmIts.

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted,…

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

One of the neat things about being a birdwatcher (also, granted, Pokémon Go player) is that it gets you out in the world, visiting interesting places. Yesterday I was walking through the marsh when another marsh enthusiast (Kim; I’m sorry I don’t know her last name) told me about a big bird that was flopping around in the bushes next to the Franklin Creek channel. I checked it out from across the creek, and could see that it was an adult osprey. It appeared to be attached by the legs to a length of fishing line that in turn was tangled in the bushes. The bird would try to fly, making loud alarm calls, then fall down into the bushes and lie there looking upset.

Kim was calling everyone she knew trying to find someone who could help; I started calling everyone I knew. Because it was a Sunday it was hard to get someone, but eventually Kim got through to someone who got through to Niels Lameijer, a Carpinterian who works with the Ojai Raptor Center as part of their rescue and rehabilitation program, and shortly thereafter he was on the scene. Here’s some video I shot of Niels rescuing the bird.

Warning: Includes a closeup toward the end showing the bird’s bleeding leg, impaled by the hooks of a fishing lure. So if you’re squeamish about that sort of thing maybe best not to watch.

In thinking about it, I think the likeliest scenario is that the bird dove onto the lure while someone was fishing with it, mistaking it for an injured fish (which, after all, is a lure’s goal). Presumably the human at the other end of the line then either cut the line or it broke, allowing the osprey to fly away.

I don’t want to think badly of the fisherperson(s) involved without knowing more about what happened. It’s possible they were fishing legally and just didn’t realize the osprey was interested in their lure. It’s also possible, though, that it was someone fishing inside the marsh, which is illegal, though I’ve sometimes seen people (usually kids) doing it along the nearby Santa Monica Creek channel. I’ve tended to turn a blind eye to that in the past, but if I see it in the future I’m going to be more vocal.

Niels sent an email today saying that the bird is doing well, and should soon be released back into the wild. I hope to see it flying over the marsh again soon.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2tJKsYq.

I made another video about sea level rise in Carpinteria. This…

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

I made another video about sea level rise in Carpinteria. This one looks at what we can do about it.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2rtNGOx.

My latest video on sea level rise in Carpinteria is up now. I…

Thursday, March 23rd, 2017

My latest video on sea level rise in Carpinteria is up now. I had fun making it.

If you’re a fan of Yulin/Zack/Sean/Mary Kate’s beautiful video of Auden’s “As I Walked Out One Evening”, you’ll recognize where I got my inspiration.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2ngx75I.

lies: My interest in the natural world has followed an odd…

Friday, March 10th, 2017

lies:

My interest in the natural world has followed an odd sequence.

At first I was drawn to birds. Then it was the insects the birds were eating, then the plants depended on by the insects.

Now it’s the earth beneath the plants.

Phase II of the Franklin Trail behind Carpinteria is now open, and today Linda and I took Rory on a hike to check it out. There was lots of cool stuff to see; a higher vantage point to view the valley, trees with colorful poison oak beneath them, a big sycamore with bear claw marks leading up its trunk.

But the most interesting thing for me was the geology along the trail. The large image above shows (I think) the transition between the Sespe Formation (on the left), with reddish sandstone and conglomerate, and the Coldwater Formation’s lighter-colored sandstone on the right.

The boundary dates to about 40 million years ago. The younger rock is on the left, the older on the right. The layers were laid down in the vicinity of present-day San Diego; since then a big chunk of land has rotated clockwise, bringing the rocks to their present location in south Santa Barbara County. In the last 2.5 million years they’ve been tilted, such that what originally were horizontal layers are now angled up at a 60-degree angle.

The Coldwater sandstone was laid down at the bottom of a shallow coastal sea. Toward the end of that process, as the world’s climate transitioned from being very much warmer than today to being as cool or cooler than today, sea levels fell dramatically, and the rocks in that photo went from being underwater to being part of a low-lying coastal plain. Periodic river flooding produced the rounded pebbles embedded in the reddish Sespe conglomerate.

It’s cool to be able to read that history in the rocks. I’m just a baby at geology, but I’m looking forward to learning more.

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2maZJKm.

I made a video (the first in a series of videos, hopefully)…

Monday, March 6th, 2017

I made a video (the first in a series of videos, hopefully) about sea level rise in Carpinteria, where I live. This one is about vulnerability.

Warning: Includes my face. 😜

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2mXoJ90.

Carpinteria Christmas Bird Count, 2016-12-18Whew! It’s…

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

Carpinteria Christmas Bird Count, 2016-12-18

Whew! It’s done!

Doing the CBC at the Carpinteria Salt Marsh today was a lot of fun. The people in my group were real troopers. We started at first light and kept going until just before sundown with just one short break for lunch. We saw lots of great birds, including the Greater Roadrunner and Cooper’s Hawk above.

I was frustrated at not getting some of the really good birds I’d had during my scouting trips over the past week. On the other hand I got a number of birds that I hadn’t seen during scouting, so it all worked out.

The highlight for me was when we were out by the entrance lagoon checking out a mixed group of shorebirds: a bunch of Black-bellied Plovers and Sanderlings, mostly. As I was looking at the group through my binoculars a gray blur suddenly swooped in from the side moving really fast: a Peregrine Falcon! The shorebirds exploded in all directions and the Peregrine flew off with one of them (a Sanderling, I think) in its talons.

I’m looking forward to next year. Rob, the count organizer, has asked me to help out with the organizing, so I’ll probably be doing more next time around. That’ll be fun.

Details follow:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 18, 2016 6:36 AM – 10:18 AM
Protocol: Traveling
2.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Carp CBC outings #1 and 2
58 species (+2 other taxa)

Mallard  5
Blue-winged Teal  8
Green-winged Teal  14
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian)  1     Continuing male
Bufflehead  19
Ruddy Duck  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  4
Brown Pelican  2
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  7
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  6     Continuing birds at the Sandyland Cove Road bridge.
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  2
Cooper’s Hawk  2     1 adult, 1 immature
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  14
Long-billed Dowitcher  26
Spotted Sandpiper  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  11
Ring-billed Gull  1
Western Gull  8
California Gull  4
gull sp.  38
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  8
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Greater Roadrunner  1
Anna’s Hummingbird  13
Allen’s Hummingbird  15
Belted Kingfisher  1     Female
Black Phoebe  4
Say’s Phoebe  2
California Scrub-Jay  5
American Crow  6
Bushtit  11
House Wren  2
Marsh Wren  6
Bewick’s Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  4
California Thrasher  2
Northern Mockingbird  4
European Starling  1
American Pipit  3
Orange-crowned Warbler  2
Common Yellowthroat  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  8
Townsend’s Warbler  1
Dark-eyed Junco  2
White-crowned Sparrow  43
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  3
Song Sparrow  4
California Towhee  7
Western Meadowlark  17
House Finch  26
House Sparrow  6

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hKmEuV

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 18, 2016 10:20 AM – 10:49 AM
Protocol: Stationary
Comments:     Birding from west end of Avenue Del Mar
16 species

Canada Goose  1
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Brown Pelican  1
Snowy Egret  1
Black-bellied Plover  3
Snowy Plover  1
Semipalmated Plover  7
Long-billed Curlew  10
Marbled Godwit  1
Sanderling  50
Willet  56
Forster’s Tern  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hyNQif

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 18, 2016 12:06 PM – 4:34 PM
Protocol: Traveling
2.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Entered marsh at Estero Way, birded to marsh mouth lagoon, then along marsh edge to Santa Monica Creek and back, then outside fence along railroad tracks to near Santa Claus Lane and back.
50 species (+1 other taxa)

Brant  2     Didn’t have great views; two individuals seen in same location as on two previous scouting trips. They were distant, seen through the spotting scope with a significant amount of heat shimmer. They were two large, black waterfowl seen walking. I didn’t see more identifying details than that, but given that they were in the same location as the birds previously positively identified as Brant, and given the lack of alternative likely IDs, I’m comfortable saying I identified them as Brant.
Mallard  2
Bufflehead  17
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  17
American White Pelican  2     Seen by Deborah but not by other members of the party; we were distracted by a different bird and didn’t hear her calling our attention to them. She took photos and said she would forward them.
Brown Pelican  6
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  4
Turkey Vulture  7
Osprey  2
Red-tailed Hawk  3
Black-bellied Plover  26
Semipalmated Plover  12
Killdeer  9
Whimbrel  2
Long-billed Curlew  7
Marbled Godwit  7
Sanderling  20
Least Sandpiper  3
Greater Yellowlegs  4
Willet  30
jaeger sp.  2
Heermann’s Gull  1
Western Gull  15
California Gull  15
Caspian Tern  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  46
Eurasian Collared-Dove  4
Anna’s Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Peregrine Falcon  1     Watched it attack a group of shorebirds and carry one off; believe the prey was a Sanderling.
Black Phoebe  1
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  2
American Crow  7
Bushtit  14
Marsh Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
California Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
American Pipit  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
White-crowned Sparrow  42
Savannah Sparrow  12
Western Meadowlark  24
House Finch  18
House Sparrow  9

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hKfpTr

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2hyIwve.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh, December 17, 2016Last scouting day…

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

Carpinteria Salt Marsh, December 17, 2016

Last scouting day before the Christmas count. Crack of dawn tomorrow I’ll start at that “Dangerous Sea Wall” sign, then will spend the rest of the daylight hours counting birds in the marsh.

Today’s highlight was a male Eurasian Teal hanging out with the Green-wingeds in the city marsh park basin. The AOU in their wisdom deems him only a subspecies, but it still was fun to find him, and to watch the whole group chasing each other and displaying.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 17, 2016 10:10 AM – 12:01 PM
Protocol: Traveling
0.75 mile(s)
Comments:     Entered at Sandyland Cove Road, walked to the bridge at Avenue Del Mar, then backtracked and walked through the Carp Marsh Park to the beach.
35 species (+2 other taxa)

Mallard  7
Blue-winged Teal  9
Green-winged Teal  13
Green-winged Teal (Eurasian)  1     Adult male with a group of green-winged teal. Similar to green-winged, but no “pencil mark” on shoulder, buffy edging on facial pattern and horizontal buffy strip along lower edge of folded wing.
Bufflehead  7
loon sp.  1
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Brown Pelican  4
Great Blue Heron  2
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  4     Continuing birds. Along bank east of Sandyland Cove Road bridge.
Turkey Vulture  7
Osprey  1
American Coot  7
Long-billed Dowitcher  17
Western Gull  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  27
Anna’s Hummingbird  5
Allen’s Hummingbird  4
Say’s Phoebe  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  10
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  4
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
California Thrasher  2
Common Yellowthroat  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
White-crowned Sparrow  15
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  1
California Towhee  1
Western Meadowlark  14
House Finch  12
House Sparrow  4

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hLaFN1

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2hGT3F7.

Carpinteria salt marsh, December 15, 2016There was a decent high…

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Carpinteria salt marsh, December 15, 2016

There was a decent high tide at the marsh this morning, and rain due over the next couple of days, so I took advantage of one of my last good chances to do scouting before Sunday’s count. Highlights were a single female Pintail and a neat patch of flowering Salt Marsh Dodder growing by the railroad tracks.

Also, the way it looked when the rain started falling.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 15, 2016 7:35 AM – 9:49 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Scoped the marsh from Estero Way, then walked the railroad tracks to Sand Point Road and back. Tide was 6’ at the beginning, topped out at 6.8’ at the end.

47 species

Brant  2
Mallard  6
Blue-winged Teal  5
Northern Pintail  1     Female
Green-winged Teal  6
Bufflehead  3
Red-breasted Merganser  2
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  8
Black-crowned Night-Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  4
Osprey  2
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  21
Whimbrel  1
Long-billed Curlew  16
Greater Yellowlegs  3
Willet  115
Western Gull  2
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  22
Eurasian Collared-Dove  12
Anna’s Hummingbird  4
Belted Kingfisher  1     Female
Black Phoebe  3
Say’s Phoebe  2
California Scrub-Jay  1
American Crow  10
Bushtit  14
Marsh Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
European Starling  1
American Pipit  1
Orange-crowned Warbler  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  7
Townsend’s Warbler  1
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Savannah Sparrow  1
California Towhee  1
House Finch  4
House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2hzwfH2

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

Reposted from http://ift.tt/2hCtQse.

My little big dayI birdwatched (almost) continually from sunrise…

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

My little big day

I birdwatched (almost) continually from sunrise to sunset today as part of getting ready for next Sunday’s Christmas bird count. It was lots of fun. I’m tired, but not too bad.

If I’m reading the merged record in eBird correctly I had 64 species total, which isn’t bad considering I stuck pretty much to one chunk of habitat and didn’t drive at all (except that my partner in crime was nice enough to pick me up for a quick lunch and drop me off again after).

Technically two of the shots above (upper right and lower left) were taken yesterday rather than today. But that’s basically where I was today as well.

I kept 5 separate eBird lists over the course of the day.

List #1:

Home, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 6:40 AM – 6:58 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
10 species (+1 other taxa)

Western Gull  13
gull sp.  7
Anna’s Hummingbird  5
Allen’s Hummingbird  1
Black Phoebe  1
American Crow  18
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  5
White-crowned Sparrow  8
California Towhee  1
Brewer’s Blackbird  8

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ6izo

List #2:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 6:59 AM – 9:51 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     With Rob
49 species (+2 other taxa)

Mallard  16
Blue-winged Teal  15
Northern Pintail  3
Bufflehead  8
Pied-billed Grebe  2
Western Grebe  20
Double-crested Cormorant  11
Brown Pelican  6
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  3
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron  3     Continuing birds at south end of Sandyland Cove Road.
Turkey Vulture  6
Osprey  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
American Coot  5
Long-billed Curlew  2
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  1
Heermann’s Gull  10
Western Gull  8
gull sp.  20
Forster’s Tern  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  10
Anna’s Hummingbird  7
Allen’s Hummingbird  3
Black Phoebe  3
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  41
Bushtit  21
House Wren  1
Marsh Wren  4
wren sp.  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  3
Wrentit  2
California Thrasher  2
Northern Mockingbird  3
Common Yellowthroat  3
Yellow-rumped Warbler  2
White-crowned Sparrow  38
Golden-crowned Sparrow  2
Savannah Sparrow (Belding’s)  1
Song Sparrow  7
Lincoln’s Sparrow  3
California Towhee  1
Western Meadowlark  4
House Finch  19
House Sparrow  6

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2heFDPN

List #3:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 10:01 AM – 11:12 AM
Protocol: Traveling
0.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Walking the RR tracks from Sandyland Cove Road to Estero Way, scoping into the marsh.
33 species

Mallard  3
Bufflehead  2
Double-crested Cormorant  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  3
Whimbrel  4
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  7
Eurasian Collared-Dove  5
Anna’s Hummingbird  2
Allen’s Hummingbird  2
Black Phoebe  1
California Scrub-Jay  2
American Crow  10
House Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
California Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  2
Common Yellowthroat  4
Yellow-rumped Warbler  4
White-crowned Sparrow  34
Savannah Sparrow  2
Song Sparrow  1
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
Western Meadowlark  8
House Finch  4
House Sparrow  16

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ9fzU

List #4:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 12:08 PM – 2:09 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     With Mario and Nancy. Estero Way to marsh mouth lagoon and return.
31 species (+1 other taxa)

Brant  1
Bufflehead  8
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Double-crested Cormorant  5
American White Pelican  2     Two circled overhead before landing near the cormorants in the middle of the western part of the marsh.
Great Blue Heron  4
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  3
Turkey Vulture  2
Osprey  2
Black-bellied Plover  15
Semipalmated Plover  3
Whimbrel  4
Long-billed Curlew  13
Marbled Godwit  9
Sanderling  1
Greater Yellowlegs  1
Willet  107
Ring-billed Gull  1
Western Gull  5
gull sp.  1
Black Phoebe  1
Say’s Phoebe  3
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  1
Bushtit  19
Northern Mockingbird  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler  1
White-crowned Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  2
Western Meadowlark  13
House Finch  10

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2heDW4O

List #5:

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Reserve (restricted access), Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 11, 2016 2:18 PM – 4:44 PM
Protocol: Traveling
1.0 mile(s)
Comments:     Estero Way entrance to marsh mouth lagoon and return, with Deborah.
35 species (+1 other taxa)

Mallard  2
Bufflehead  12
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  3
Double-crested Cormorant  7
American White Pelican  2
Brown Pelican  1
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  2
Black-crowned Night-Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Osprey  2
Black-bellied Plover  15
Semipalmated Plover  16
Whimbrel  2
Long-billed Curlew  6
Marbled Godwit  3
Sanderling  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  2
Greater Yellowlegs  2
Willet  50
Ring-billed Gull  2     Watched one repeatedly get a bivalve (mussel?) from low-tide exposed channel bed, fly over to a cobble bed and drop it to break it open. Deborah got photos.
Western Gull  25
Caspian Tern  1
tern sp.  7
Say’s Phoebe  1
Loggerhead Shrike  1
American Crow  1
Bushtit  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
American Pipit  2
Common Yellowthroat  1
White-crowned Sparrow  4
Western Meadowlark  9
House Finch  6

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gQ6XRH

(I walked home after this, but I didn’t birdwatch. Instead I played Pokemon.)

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Best hobby or best hobby?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Best hobby or best hobby?

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Apologies in advance. I’m getting very excited about the upcoming Christmas bird count, and am…

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Apologies in advance. I’m getting very excited about the upcoming Christmas bird count, and am starting to drop references to it in all human interactions. “Why yes, I will have a Coke with that. Also, did you know the local Christmas bird count is happening on Sunday, December 18?”

I’ll try to keep it under control as best I can. More details after a cut.

This year instead of going into the remoter part of the front country in the normally-off-limits Rancho Monte Alegre parcel and the Santa Monica Creek headwaters, I’ve been offered a plum assignment by the local count organizer: The Carpinteria Salt Marsh.

This is a big deal to me.

You’ve probably noticed me talking about the marsh. I’m a volunteer docent there, which means that one Saturday a month (usually the first Saturday) I’m on hand to lead a tour for whoever shows up. I’ve been doing the docent tours for a few years now, but in the beginning, before I got roped into those, what brought me to the marsh was birdwatching.

It’s an amazing place for birdwatching.

These days I have a better understanding of why that is, having gone through the docent training, which involves lectures and field trips with experts in various aspects of marsh science. But even without knowing about how productive and densely interconnected marsh ecosystems are, how large a role wetlands play in the surrounding environment, and how important the native plant restoration has been in the city-owned portion where the docent tours happen, I knew it was a great place for birds.

The Christmas count is a team effort, and in the past I’ve enjoyed doing my part by hitting the local backyards where a Rufous Hummingbird would sometimes overwinter, or hiking up the Santa Monica Creek headwaters to get the occasional rarity (we had Wood Ducks one year). But in terms of sheer numbers and variety, the marsh is the crown jewel of our 15-mile-diameter count circle, and I’ve always envied the people who count there.

This year that’ll be me!

I’m a little anxious about it, because I know I’m not as good as some of the other local birders who’ve done the marsh in years past. But apparently they’re either unavailable this year or will be busy covering remoter parts of the count circle. So I’m doing my best to get up to speed on marsh-specific ID challenges: differentiating the two yellowlegs species, the two dowitchers, medium-sized winter shorebirds, immature gulls, distant terns. Also, getting stronger on the call notes of the various sparrows that hang out in the marsh. I mean, I know many of them. But I need to know them all.

It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks.

Carpinteria Salt Marsh Nature Park, Santa Barbara, California, US
Dec 6, 2016 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
Protocol: Traveling
1.5 mile(s)
Comments:     Tide 3’ and bottoming out
46 species

Mallard  2
Blue-winged Teal  10
Bufflehead  7
Pied-billed Grebe  1
Western Grebe  2
Double-crested Cormorant  1
Brown Pelican  2     Actually outside of CSMNP, over ocean.
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
American Coot  8
Black-bellied Plover  2
Killdeer  1
Long-billed Dowitcher  15
Greater Yellowlegs  2     Watched it swimming and dipping like a dabbling duck in the marsh park channel near the culvert – caught and swallowed a small fish.
Willet  1
Western Gull  3
California Gull  7
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3
Eurasian Collared-Dove  2
Anna’s Hummingbird  4
Allen’s Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Black Phoebe  2
Say’s Phoebe  1
Cassin’s Kingbird  1
California Scrub-Jay  3
American Crow  5
Bushtit  12
Marsh Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
California Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
European Starling  10
American Pipit  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
White-crowned Sparrow  44
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Song Sparrow  2
Lincoln’s Sparrow  2
California Towhee  4
Western Meadowlark  13
House Finch  10
House Sparrow  2

View this checklist online at http://ift.tt/2gbpyqb

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

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The sky keeps trying to distract me when I’m playing…

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

The sky keeps trying to distract me when I’m playing pokemon.

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It’s my day to lead the docent tour at the salt marsh….

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

It’s my day to lead the docent tour at the salt marsh. Lately it’s been hit-or-miss; sometimes there are attendees, sometimes there aren’t. I hope I get at least one person. I’ve learned that’s all I need to have a fun time.

I do the tour each month and have been doing it for years, so I’ve learned which months are my favorites. September is a really good month. The chaparral mallow is still in bloom, and the coyote brush has started flowering, with the yellow male flowers out in profusion and the white female flowers beginning to do their thing.

There’s a decent high tide (5’) at 11:30, which is right around when the tour will be ending (if it happens at all). The marsh full of water is the best.

I’ll have a nice time if no one shows. But I’ll feel sad that I didn’t get to share it.

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I live here

Friday, April 29th, 2016

I live here

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Layers

Friday, April 29th, 2016

Layers

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East and West

Friday, April 29th, 2016

East and West

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