ostdrossel:Again, no booth pics, but something amazing happened…

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

ostdrossel:

Again, no booth pics, but something amazing happened this morning – I had a Summer Tanager in my yard! When I first saw him, I thought it was a weird female Cardinal or maybe a female Orchard Oriole (because I have never seen one before), but something did not add up. From what I am reading, their range normally does not even reach as far as Michigan, so this was such a cool surprise! What a spring this is!

#326

Right where it was supposed to be, eating persimmons at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180932087196.

debunkshy: Long-tailed Duck Glendale Recharge Ponds, AZ,…

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

debunkshy:

Long-tailed Duck

Glendale Recharge Ponds, AZ, 1-19-17

#325

A female Long-tailed Duck was reported by Nick late Sunday afternoon from Ocean Beach County Park, just far enough away that I couldn’t get there before dark, and would very much not have wanted to anyway since it would have put me in Thanksgiving weekend traffic on the way back. And the next day (Monday) was my day to go the opposite direction to LA for work, so I had to cross my fingers and hope the bird would stay until today (Tuesday).

One eBird report by Libby on Monday showed the bird still there, so I was hopeful. I set the alarm for 4:30 and got there shortly after sunrise. It was cold, which wasn’t so bad, but also foggy and windy, which put a damper on things. I looked around the railroad bridge near the parking lot where the bird had been seen, sifting through the Ruddy Ducks and Eared and Western Grebes, but no dice. I walked to the beach and checked out the Snowy Plovers, then returned to the railroad bridge again, wiping condensation off my glasses. Still no Long-tailed Duck.

Oh, well. Most chases don’t pan out; it looked like this was going to be one of those.

I returned to my car and reviewed my eBird list. As I was about to drive away I noticed that the sun was starting to poke through, and I thought, well, maybe the duck has been tucked away somewhere waiting for it to get nicer out. So I took one last stroll down to the railroad bridge.

image

What a cutie. 🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180560752941.

oceanodroma: Not a great photo, but a pretty amazing bird. This…

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

oceanodroma:

Not a great photo, but a pretty amazing bird. This is a hybrid Red-breasted x Red-naped sapsucker in my backyard. You never know what migration (esp fall migration) will bring

#324

The Rrd-naked Sapsucker I was fortunate enough to see today wasn’t a hybrid, I don’t think, which is good for my county year list since a hybrid wouldn’t count.🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180467909981.

ridiculousbirdfaces: IMG_6879 by Ryk NavesRed-necked Grebe…

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

ridiculousbirdfaces:

IMG_6879

by Ryk Naves

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)

#323

Sometimes I get a new bird for the county year list out of the blue, an unexpected and exiting rarity (like the Green-tailed Towhee at Jameson Lake last Sunday). Other times I chase a bird previously reported by someone else. Most of the time those chases don’t pan out, but once in a while they do.

A report had come in of a Red-necked Grebe in Santa Barbara Harbor this morning. I didn’t find out about it until I broke from work for lunch and saw the posting on the sbcobirding list. I’d only have time for a quick look, but I could at least go to the harbor and see.

When I got there I saw plenty of Western and Clark’s Grebes, but no Red-necked. At one point I saw a Western Grebe that had been discolored by oil, which was sad, and it occurred to me that maybe that was the bird that had been seen. It didn’t look like a Red-necked Grebe, but it looked different enough to be potentially confusing?

I sat down on one of the benches by Sea Landing, looking out at the main channel of the harbor. I took some photos. The oiled Western Grebe:

An interesting Double-crested Cormorant with a lot of white on it (leucism?):

A Herring Gull (gotta keep working on those gulls – so much to learn!):

It was almost time for me to get back to work. And then, right in front of me:

Yay! 😀

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180325827371.

sunwendyrain:Green-tailed Towhee#322🙂

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

sunwendyrain:

Green-tailed Towhee

#322

🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180265098956.

ornithoscelidaphiliac: Canvasback ducks are…

Sunday, November 18th, 2018

ornithoscelidaphiliac:

Canvasback ducks are lovely.

#321

Canvasbacks are hard to come by in Santa Barbara County. I’d chased after a few that were reported in the past few weeks without success, so it felt very satisfying to find four of them (a male and three females) at Jameson Lake today.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180264419386.

acryptozoo: Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii) #320Organisms that like…

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

acryptozoo:

Ross’s Goose (Chen rossii)

#320

Organisms that like to spend time at sewage-treatment plants:

– aerobic bacteria

– anaerobic bacteria

– rare/vagrant waterfowl

– birdwatchers

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/180153112611.

oceanodroma:I’ve watched this Snow Goose develop its adult…

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

oceanodroma:

I’ve watched this Snow Goose develop its adult plumage over the fall and winter, and it seems like he decided to not migrate up to the arctic and is sticking around hopefully through the summer

#319

At Lake Los Carneros this morning; another case where the bird reported the previous day was right where it was supposed to be at first light. 😀

An immature one (who are often the ones that wander off the normal migration route and make birdwatchers excited), just like the one shown above.

Here’s the one I saw this morning:

Very stylish. 👍

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179875092571.

speakingofnature:A Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) has…

Monday, November 5th, 2018

speakingofnature:

A Harris’s Sparrow (Zonotrichia querula) has been staying in the vicinity of my backyard for the last few days. I wonder if this is the same sparrow that visited my yard on November 22, 2015 (see Archives) while migrating south. He is quite handsome in his bright springtime feathers.

#318

I’ve been chasing various reported rarities since I saw a county Vesper Sparrow on October 14, but so far all of them have been fun outings that didn’t produce the hoped-for bird.

This morning was the other side of the coin, where I chase the bird and I’m at the spot it was reported at first light and bam: there it is. Yay! 😀👍

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179792234281.

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)Another shot of the…

Monday, October 15th, 2018

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)

Another shot of the little dude who made my morning at the local cemetery.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179088003299.

Dæmon Analysis: Vesper Sparrow

Monday, October 15th, 2018

urbandaemons:

Personality: Cheerful, outgoing, opportunistic. Vesper sparrows like to see the best in people and in different situations. As a rule, they tend to stay with a large circle of friends, and get lonely easily. People with vesper sparrow dæmons may not seek out change, but if it comes their way they roll with it, and they excel at recognising a promising opportunity.

Historical/Contemporary Figure: Jimmy Fallon (TV show host)

Fictional Characters: Kaylee Fry (Firefly)
                                                                                                         – Raylen

#317

I think it’s my favorite place in the county, San Miguelito Road. Every time I’ve gone there it’s felt special. I was thinking about it yesterday, trying to figure out what it is, specifically. I think it’s the lack of traffic. It’s 10 miles deep in the winding hills south of Lompoc. There are a few farms, and a distant view of the ocean, but the road just ends at the locked gate for Vandenberg (where they do the west coast rocket launches), so no one really goes there. I arrived at sunrise and stayed most of the day, walking down the middle of the paved road birdwatching, and in all that time I think I saw four cars on the road not counting mine.

I was there because there’s a Pinyon Jay irruption happening, and last week someone saw the first Pinyon Jays in Santa Barbara County since 2000 along that road. There’s no reason to think they’re still there; Pinyon Jays are notorious wanderers, thinly spread and hard to find even within their normal range, and these were on the far side of the county from where they presumably entered, via the mountains south of Cuyama. But it was as good a place as any to find them, and I really like going there. So I went.

I mentioned in the tags of a different post about all the great raptors I saw: Golden Eagle, Ferruginous Hawk, and Prairie Falcon, for starters, each one a legit bird celebrity that would have made my day on its own. But the real star for me were two little brown jobs skulking in the close-cropped grass next to the road: gray-brown streaking, complete white eye ring, light malar patch surrounded by a dark border; yeah! Vesper Sparrow!

I’d been thinking about Vesper Sparrows a lot lately.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179087258606.

klemannlee:Blue-Winged Warbler#316This was kind of hilarious….

Saturday, October 13th, 2018

klemannlee:

Blue-Winged Warbler

#316

This was kind of hilarious. Nick Lethaby (who finds a disproportionate share of the rare birds in Santa Barbara County) put the word out at 9:28 a.m. that he’d found a Blue-winged Warbler in Carpinteria Creek. This is a big deal; it’s a first county record. And it was 5 minutes from my house, on a non-work day. So yeah; I obviously wanted to go check it out.

But there was a problem: I’d signed up for a table shift at the local supermarket in support of a local ballot measure (Measure X; don’t forget to vote, Carpinterians), and my shift started at 10. I went to Carp Creek and hung out on the 8th Street Bridge as long as I could, but I only had a few minutes and wasn’t really expecting to see the bird. Honestly, I was just thinking well, maybe Nick will be there and will be able to point out the bird to me. No luck, though; no bird, no birders.

At the tabling shift the group texts started coming in: more birders arriving, searching, and eventually refinding the bird, yay! Meanwhile, I was about 150 yards away chatting with shoppers about the city’s budget issues. I got a personal text: “Where are you?”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can!”

At noon my volunteer shift ended and I raced back to the creek. When I got to the bridge and looked upstream I saw the best thing possible: About 10 avid county birders all looking intently at the same point on the creek bank. Yeah!

A minute later I’d joined them and was getting great views of the bird, which was gorgeous.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/179033574046.

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)Gray morning, bright…

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)

Gray morning, bright bird. At the local cemetery.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178950466836.

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)Carpinteria Bluffs, 2018-10-09

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)

Carpinteria Bluffs, 2018-10-09

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178909744376.

debunkshy: Bobolink Schurch-Thomson Prairie, WI,…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

debunkshy:

Bobolink

Schurch-Thomson Prairie, WI, 6-18-17

#315

One of those birds I’d always read about growing up but never saw, because it’s an eastern species that’s rare along the Pacific coast.

Hugh (same Hugh who got the amazing shot of the humpback breaching on Saturday’s pelagic trip) reported one from Elings Park in Santa Barbara yesterday, so I got up early today and went looking. Conor was there before me, so I walked up and asked if he’d seen the Bobolink.

“Actually, yeah.” Oh wow; when? “About 5 minutes ago.”

I headed off in the direction he indicated, and a few minutes later I saw it: like a big sparrow, but with an overall yellowish wash, pale lores, and pointed wings when it flew. Yay!

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178898960276.

October 6 PelagicI went on what will probably end up being my…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

October 6 Pelagic

I went on what will probably end up being my last-of-the-year pelagic birding trip out of Ventura Harbor last weekend. The sunrise was pretty. And the birds! The official lists are still being tabulated, but it looks good for 6 new county-year birds for me. It gets tricky because we were passing back and forth through Ventura and Santa Barbara County waters – and actually a tiny bit of LA County waters as well. Because of my county year list obsession I was more excited about the Santa Barbara birds than the Ventura birds. But they were all great.

My sister and brother-in-law came along and it was fun to share the obsession with them. M’Liz volunteers with the American Cetacean Society’s gray whale census, so she’s all about the marine mammals; her favorite part of the trip was when we cruised alongside a humpacked whale that rewarded us with a full-on out-of-the-water breach. Hugh Ranson was one of the people who got a photo of the breach in-progress.

I’ll talk about the new county year birds I saw after a cut to preserve your dash.

Note: Except as indicated, the photos below aren’t by me and don’t show the actual birds I saw. They’re photos I googled up that generous people have shared under a Creative Commons license.

#309: Pomarine Jaeger (Stercorarius pomarinus)

Photo by Martyne Reesman, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

We saw several “poms” as we were heading out past Anacapa Island, and kept seeing them as we headed south into the “donut hole” (the circle of ocean around Santa Barbara Island that has been deemed part of Santa Barbara County for bird-listing purposes). One of the birds even had the breeding-plumage “spoons” (long central tail feathers with a twist at the end) that you can see in this photo. I’ve always wanted to see those!

#310: Craveri’s Murrelet (Synthliboramphus craveri)

Photo by Tom Benson

We saw (and heard, one time) a few pairs of these as we approached Santa Barbara Island. Later, on the trip home, we saw a few more pairs, then one trio that I assume was mom, dad, and a chick. They were all adorable.

#311: Least Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma microsoma)

Photo by Alan Schmierer

This is a species that I saw, technically, but would not have been able to identify from the brief look I got if it weren’t for a boatload of experts shouting, “Least Storm-Petrel!” But with the benefit of their input I did notice that this storm-petrel was super tiny compared to the Black and Ashy Storm-Petrels we’d been seeing.

#312: Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii)

Photo by Vince Smith

This was a biggee for me. I’ve always wanted to see one, and I knew one had been seen on the previous Island Packers pelagic trip (which I didn’t go on). Then one had been seen just a few days before our trip, hanging out at Santa Barbara Island with the big group of Brown Boobies that nested there this year, so we were hoping it would still be there. And… it was!

Hugh’s photo of the bird we saw is here. Here’s a shot from my phone of the upper deck after the excitement had started to wear off:

The Blue-footed Booby is actually in the shot; here it is cropped and arrowed:

Those other specks on the cliff are mostly Brown Boobies. It was a very booby day. 🙂

#313: Buller’s Shearwater

Photo by Jamie Chavez

We saw one of these mixed in with the thousands of Black-vented Shearwaters and the few dozen Pink-footed Shearwaters we steamed through in Ventura County waters, so I was primed and on the lookout for another near Santa Barbara Island. No more showed up, though, and I was thinking I wouldn’t get to add one to the county list, when bam! One showed up right next to the boat, zipping by under the bow and giving a beautiful view of that “M” pattern on its upper wings and back. Yay!

These birds are amazing. They breed in New Zealand, then spend the year doing a huge clockwise circle around the Pacific Ocean. Dave Pereksta, the birder who organized this trip, said he thinks they’re the prettiest of the shearwaters. I think he’s right.

#314: Sabine’s Gull (Xema sabini)

Photo by Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren

As we headed back toward the harbor I was happy with the birds I’d seen, and starting to settle into that tired-and-sitting-and-comparing-notes phase that all pelagic trips seem to end on, when the boat slowed unexpectedly. A kelp paddy to starboard had some terns on it… Common Terns, it turns out, which are great birds, though a species I already had for the county year list. But mixed in with them were two Sabine’s Gulls! 😀

Booby addendum:

I’m burying the lead, but the big news from the trip was the boobies: We saw all five booby species in a single day, which Dave Pereksta believes had not been done before in the ABA area:

  • A Masked Booby (my first ever) on Anacapa Island (Ventura County, alas)
  • A Red-footed Booby (also my first ever) that flew alongside the boat as we steamed south (also in Ventura County)
  • The aforementioned Brown Boobies on Santa Barbara Island
  • The Blue-footed Booby on Santa Barbara Island
  • A Nazca Booby that we chased down in a big group of shearwaters southeast of Santa Barbara Island (a great bird, and in the right county, but a species I already saw on a previous trip)

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178893003091.

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)I never see a Townsend’s…

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Townsend’s Warbler (Setophaga townsendi)

I never see a Townsend’s Warbler without a little jolt of excitement. This one was gleaning insects in a cedar at the local cemetery.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178856457271.

julesofnature: Rose-breasted Grosbeak female “Every day we…

Monday, October 1st, 2018

julesofnature:

Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

#308

In the eucs by the Lake Los Carneros parking, where I was looking for (and failing to find, again) the male Summer Tanager that’s been seen around there (just not by me) for weeks.

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178649310861.

mostlythemarsh: Lone Tree(Spot the Hawk) Broad-winged Hawk…

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

mostlythemarsh:

Lone Tree

(Spot the Hawk)

Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus)

#307

Four of them circling together just south of the hawk watch site in Bella Vista Drive. They’re an eastern species that winters in Mexico; this is the time of year when a few wandering youngsters come down the Pacific Flyway. If you’re in the right spot and have a bit of luck you can see them. I was and I did, so I did! Yay! 🙂

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178531558561.

debunkshy:Chestnut-sided WarblerSPI Convention Center,…

Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

debunkshy:

Chestnut-sided Warbler
SPI Convention Center, TX
4-26-18

#306

They’d been seeing it at Winchester One, the same place I saw the Blackpoll. This morning I had a dentist appointment out near there at 9 a.m., so I went and looked at sunrise for the bird. Just before I had to leave Nick showed up and helped me find the bird. 😀

Reposted from http://lies.tumblr.com/post/178470635056.