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   Cassin's Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Vireo cassinii


   Cassin's Vireo (Vireo cassinii) - CAVI (recent eBird sightings, view CBRC records, range map
)

  1. RE: [CALBIRDS] News from the California Bird Records Committee LINK
    DATE: Jan 24, 2018 @ 2:56pm, 5 month(s) ago
    Tom,
    
    Thanks. I am interested in this question. One thing to consider is the interplay between age and the white on the central rectrices. I posted a bunch of photos on the Facebook Advanced ID site some time ago about this. But in some **juvenile** Nazca Boobies in the Galapagos, the white is showing in the central tail feathers before fledging. I am not sure if you need to be a member to see this:
    
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=10155071688133520 < https://www.facebook.com/photo.phpfbid=10155071688133520&set=pcb.1417872404975626&type=3&theater&ifg=1 > &set=pcb.1417872404975626&type=3&theater&ifg=1
    
    regards,
    
    Alvaro
    
    Alvaro Jaramillo
    
    alvaro@...
    
    www.alvarosadventures.com
    
    From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of Tom Benson Thomasabenson@... [CALBIRDS]
    
    Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 2:49 PM
    
    To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
    
    Subject: Re: [CALBIRDS] News from the California Bird Records Committee
    
    Alvaro,
    
    The committee reviewed a number of photos of Masked Boobies, a couple of which showed extensive white on the tail. I do not recall where those photos were from, but perhaps other committee members can chime in with the source of those photos.
    
    Tom
    
    Tom Benson
    
    Secretary, CBRC
    
    
  2. -back to top-
  3. RE: [CALBIRDS] News from the California Bird Records Committee LINK
    DATE: Jan 24, 2018 @ 2:15pm, 5 month(s) ago
    Kimball,
    
    Are there well documented (photos/specimens) Masked Boobies with
    
    extensive white on the tail
    
    Thanks,
    
    Alvaro
    
    Alvaro Jaramillo
    
    alvaro@...
    
    www.alvarosadventures.com
    
    From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf
    
    Of Kimball Garrett kgarrett@... [CALBIRDS]
    
    Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 12:03 PM
    
    To: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com
    
    Subject: [CALBIRDS] News from the California Bird Records Committee
    
    Birders,
    
    The California Bird Records Committee held its annual meeting in Los Gatos
    
    19-20 January. Steve Rottenborn, CBRC Chair, has provided the following
    
    highlights of that meeting along with some recent CBRC decisions.
    
    COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
    
    Dan Singer, Peter Pyle, and Jim Pike were elected as voting members. Steve
    
    Rottenborn, Dan Singer, and Tom Benson were elected as Chair, Vice Chair,
    
    and Secretary, respectively. The terms of Lauren Harter, Kristie Nelson, and
    
    Scott Terrill expired.
    
    STATE LIST
    
    Recently accepted additions to the California list are all from offshore
    
    islands - Jouanin's Petrel (1 Jun 2016, Santa Barbara Island, SBA), Kermadec
    
    Petrel (8 Sep 2017, Southeast Farallon Island, SF), and Eurasian Wryneck (25
    
    Sep 2017, San Clemente Island, LA). With these additions, the state list
    
    stands at 668 species. Other potential first state records awaiting CBRC
    
    review include Band-rumped Storm Petrel (10-11 Nov 2017, Southeast Farallon
    
    Island, SF), Citrine Wagtail (15-16 Dec 2017, Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area,
    
    YOL), and Tropical Parula (5 Jan 2018-present, Huntington Beach, ORA).
    
    REVIEW LIST
    
    Dusky-capped Flycatcher was removed from the Review List on the basis of the
    
    number of accepted records (110 at the time of the meeting, with an average
    
    of 4.3/year over the last 10 years) and relatively high acceptance rate
    
    (89%). All five current wintering Dusky-capped Flycatchers that were first
    
    recorded in 2017 will still be reviewed; please send your documentation for
    
    these individuals, or any other review species, to the CBRC secretary at
    
    secretary@... or by
    
    using the online form at
    
    http://www.californiabirds.org/report_sighting.html.
    
    OTHER DISCUSSIONS/DECISIONS
    
    Identification of adult Masked and Nazca boobies is straightforward given
    
    adequate views, but identification of subadults is more challenging. Along
    
    with the recent increase in numbers of adult Masked and, especially, Nazca
    
    boobies in California, the Committee has wrestled with the identity of a
    
    number of subadult birds. To supplement information in the identification
    
    literature, the CBRC reached out to experts Robert Pitman and Mike Force for
    
    information on how quickly subadults start to acquire the "adult" bill
    
    color, how reliable the presence/extent of white on the central rectrices is
    
    for identification, and how frequently hybridization between the two species
    
    occurs. More information on all these issues is needed, but it appears that
    
    some immatures begin to acquire the greenish (Masked) or pinkish (Nazca)
    
    bill color after about a year, and the presence of those colors is the most
    
    reliable field character. Until those colors are apparent in the bill,
    
    reliable identification may not be possible. Presence of extensive white in
    
    the central rectrices is suggestive of Nazca, but some Nazcas lack extensive
    
    white, and a small percentage of Masked Boobies can show extensive white.
    
    Hybridization between the two species does occur, but hybrids are apparently
    
    infrequent enough that the probability of encountering one is very low.
    
    Using these ID criteria, the CBRC is accepting a number of records to
    
    species, but juveniles, as well as subadults that are not well seen or that
    
    lack expression of some "adult" bill color, may be accepted only as
    
    "Masked/Nazca Booby".
    
    The Committee discussed photos of a California Blue-headed/Cassin's Vireo
    
    that looked quite good for Blue-headed in lower-light exposures (with
    
    apparently sharp demarcation between dark auriculars and white throat) and
    
    much better for Cassin's in more strongly lit or better exposed images,
    
    which blurred the demarcation between the auriculars and throat. The images
    
    of this individual emphasized the importance of obtaining as much
    
    documentation of putative Blue-headed Vireo records as possible (in this
    
    case, recordings of the song matched Cassin's well) while reiterating how
    
    difficult the identification of some Blue-headed/Cassin's Vireos can be.
    
    The Committee decided to re-evaluate the 4 Dec 1986-3 Apr 1987 record of
    
    Oriental Greenfinch from Arcata, HUM. This record was previously not
    
    accepted by the CBRC on the grounds of questionable natural occurrence, as
    
    there were no North American records away from the western Aleutians at the
    
    time and the Committee was concerned about the potential for the bird to
    
    have escaped (or been released) from captivity. The species was then placed
    
    on the CBRC's Supplemental List. With more recent records from the
    
    Pribilofs and British Columbia suggesting a pattern of occurrence, the CBRC
    
    will re-evaluate the record.
    
    The Introduced Birds Subcommittee (IBSC), headed up by Kimball Garrett, will
    
    continue to monitor whether any introduced species warrant addition to the
    
    State List. Research into distribution, habitat associations, breeding
    
    biology, and trends in abundance of introduced species is needed before the
    
    CBRC is likely to add any new introduced species to the state list.
    
    Please feel free to visit the CBRC's webpage at
    
    http://www.californiabirds.org/ for updates and additional information. If
    
    you have any questions about the CBRC, please contact Steve Rottenborn
    
    ( chair@... ) or Tom
    
    Benson ( secretary@...
    
    ).
    
    Finally, I (KLG) will continue to serve as the occasional CBRC
    
    "spokesperson" on Calbirds for the coming year.
    
    Kimball L. Garrett
    
    Ornithology Collections Manager
    
    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
    
    900 Exposition Blvd.
    
    Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA
    
    kgarrett@...
    
    
  4. -back to top-
  5. News from the California Bird Records Committee LINK
    DATE: Jan 24, 2018 @ 12:02pm, 5 month(s) ago
    Birders,
    
    The California Bird Records Committee held its annual meeting in Los Gatos 19-20 January. Steve Rottenborn, CBRC Chair, has provided the following highlights of that meeting along with some recent CBRC decisions.
    
    COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP Dan Singer, Peter Pyle, and Jim Pike were elected as voting members. Steve Rottenborn, Dan Singer, and Tom Benson were elected as Chair, Vice Chair, and Secretary, respectively. The terms of Lauren Harter, Kristie Nelson, and Scott Terrill
    expired.
    
    STATE LIST Recently accepted additions to the California list are all from offshore islands - Jouanin's Petrel (1 Jun 2016, Santa Barbara Island, SBA), Kermadec Petrel (8 Sep 2017, Southeast Farallon Island, SF), and Eurasian Wryneck (25 Sep 2017,
    San Clemente Island, LA). With these additions, the state list stands at 668 species. Other potential first state records awaiting CBRC review include Band-rumped Storm Petrel (10-11 Nov 2017, Southeast Farallon Island, SF), Citrine Wagtail (15-16 Dec 2017,
    Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area, YOL), and Tropical Parula (5 Jan 2018-present, Huntington Beach, ORA).
    
    REVIEW LIST Dusky-capped Flycatcher was removed from the Review List on the basis of the number of accepted records (110 at the time of the meeting, with an average of 4.3/year over the last 10 years) and relatively high acceptance rate (89%). All
    five current wintering Dusky-capped Flycatchers that were first recorded in 2017 will still be reviewed; please send your documentation for these individuals, or any other review species, to the CBRC secretary at
    secretary@... or by using the online form at
    http://www.californiabirds.org/report_sighting.html .
    
    OTHER DISCUSSIONS/DECISIONS Identification of adult Masked and Nazca boobies is straightforward given adequate views, but identification of subadults is more challenging. Along with the recent increase in numbers of adult Masked and, especially, Nazca boobies
    in California, the Committee has wrestled with the identity of a number of subadult birds. To supplement information in the identification literature, the CBRC reached out to experts Robert Pitman and Mike Force for information on how quickly subadults start
    to acquire the "adult" bill color, how reliable the presence/extent of white on the central rectrices is for identification, and how frequently hybridization between the two species occurs. More information on all these issues is needed, but it appears that
    some immatures begin to acquire the greenish (Masked) or pinkish (Nazca) bill color after about a year, and the presence of those colors is the most reliable field character. Until those colors are apparent in the bill, reliable identification may not be
    possible. Presence of extensive white in the central rectrices is suggestive of Nazca, but some Nazcas lack extensive white, and a small percentage of Masked Boobies can show extensive white. Hybridization between the two species does occur, but hybrids
    are apparently infrequent enough that the probability of encountering one is very low. Using these ID criteria, the CBRC is accepting a number of records to species, but juveniles, as well as subadults that are not well seen or that lack expression of some
    "adult" bill color, may be accepted only as "Masked/Nazca Booby".
    
    The Committee discussed photos of a California Blue-headed/Cassin's Vireo that looked quite good for Blue-headed in lower-light exposures (with apparently sharp demarcation between dark auriculars and white throat) and much better for
    Cassin's in more strongly lit or better exposed images, which blurred the demarcation between the auriculars and throat. The images of this individual emphasized the importance of obtaining as much documentation of putative Blue-headed Vireo records as possible
    (in this case, recordings of the song matched Cassin's well) while reiterating how difficult the identification of some Blue-headed/Cassin's Vireos can be.
    
    The Committee decided to re-evaluate the 4 Dec 1986-3 Apr 1987 record of Oriental Greenfinch from Arcata, HUM. This record was previously not accepted by the CBRC on the grounds of questionable natural occurrence, as there were no North
    American records away from the western Aleutians at the time and the Committee was concerned about the potential for the bird to have escaped (or been released) from captivity. The species was then placed on the CBRC's Supplemental List. With more recent
    records from the Pribilofs and British Columbia suggesting a pattern of occurrence, the CBRC will re-evaluate the record.
    
    The Introduced Birds Subcommittee (IBSC), headed up by Kimball Garrett, will continue to monitor whether any introduced species warrant addition to the State List. Research into distribution, habitat associations, breeding biology,
    and trends in abundance of introduced species is needed before the CBRC is likely to add any new introduced species to the state list.
    
    Please feel free to visit the CBRC's webpage at
    http://www.californiabirds.org/ for updates and additional information. If you have any questions about the CBRC, please contact Steve Rottenborn ( chair@... ) or Tom Benson ( secretary@... ).
    
    Finally, I (KLG) will continue to serve as the occasional CBRC "spokesperson" on Calbirds for the coming year.
    
    Kimball L. Garrett Ornithology Collections Manager Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County 900 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007 USA kgarrett@...
  6. -back to top-
  7. Birding the Palm Springs area in Spring LINK
    DATE: May 2, 2012 @ 5:39pm, 6 year(s) ago
    This past week, my hubby and I took a break from the mad world of mushrooms to
    hook up with a birding group from the GGAS, led by Rusty Scalf.
    
    It had been waaaaaaay too long since I got to put on my Desert Rat persona.
    
    Birds, just like us, prefer a damp and shaded place to hang in the heat of the
    day, and so those were some of our primary habitat targets.
    
    We had lovely walks in the Agua Caliente Tribe-managed Palm Canyons, although
    bird activity was quite low by 8 am, the earliest that we could get beyond those
    locked gates. The good news is that these special places are reserved
    exclusively for the wildlife prior to 8 am and after 5 pm. I spoke at length
    with one of the Tribal Rangers, and he said that even the Tribal Chairman can't
    get into those reserves during those hours. Way to walk your talk, my friends.
    
    Another real treat was getting to know the Morongo Valley Reserve, another place
    that is very well-managed for the benefit of the wildlife.
    
    I was delighted to see that the Morongo Reserve BANS the use of bird song tapes.
    Calling in territorial birds by playing songs of other birds may provide
    dramatic sightings for bird groups, paid or not, but certainly provides no
    benefit to the birds, and possible harm. Frankly, I would like to see that rule
    much more broadly applied. Hey, a girl can dream...
    
    Fabulous bird sightings within this reserve were the very handsome and boldly
    spectacled Cassin's Vireo, California Thrashers actively feeding in the thick
    duff with their sickle-like bills, Yellow Breasted Chats running through their
    astonishing repertoire of calls and songs, a Ladder-backed Woodpecker pair
    displaying,(and seeing just how much they resemble our Oakland neighborhood
    Nuttals), Summer Tanagers adding a bit of fire to the landscape, and despite
    their being a life bird for us, discovering how truly annoying their calls are
    (just cause they're rare doesn't mean you have to enjoy everything they do!),
    seeing how many of my backyard birds also thrived in this desert landscape
    (linnets and lesser goldfinches, CA towhees, Coopers hawks, etc.), the
    diagnostic white flash of white winged doves winging overhead, and the
    surprising observation of a distant cliff-side Prairie Falcon, that displayed a
    bit of hovering behavior that made me doubt my sighting (it appeared to be a
    really big falcon, but distance and size can be deceiving, and when I saw it
    back-beat, I was confused. Kestrel!) Not until I searched my library back home
    and read a couple of references to this rather unusual behavior in the Peeters'
    guide to "Raptors of California" was this Prairie Falcon sighting confirmed in
    my mind.
    
    Bird feeders at the Reserve brought us Bullocks and Hooded Orioles and Lazuli
    Buntings, as well as shade and cushioned seats: birding for the foot-weary and
    the over-heated!
    
    The Vermillion Flycatcher, a common sight at the nearby Covington Park, knocked
    our eyes out with its feathered brilliance. Talk about showy! Last time I saw
    one of these, I had to spend an hour driving ten brutal miles in my Kharmen
    Ghia, trashing my oil pan where the washes bottomed out, on my way to the
    Quitobaquito Springs in the Organ Pipe National Monument in AZ. I was six months
    pregnant, and it was so hot when we got there that I had to crawl under a bush
    for a few hours to cool down. Just me and the lizards and birdies! Good times.
    
    An unexpected pleasure was walking and birding the lushly vegetated Living
    Desert Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Palm Desert, the day before the Audubon
    trip. We spent five blissful hours watching verdins and hummingbirds
    (Black-chinned and Costas, Annas and Selasphorus), linnets, lesser goldfinch,
    cactus wrens and Coops, while learning the names of various xeric-adapted
    botanical wonders from CA and Mexico (or really, just Mexico, depending on how
    far back ya wanna go in history), like the way-cool Boojum tree from Baja and
    lotsa different palms and seventy species of agave!!!
    
    It was blissful botanical overload and plenty of birds to boot (not that you
    would want to boot any birds, mind you). We even got to see some life-mammals,
    like the Mexican Wolf and Fennec Foxes with their crazy long ears. Although like
    most of us, I have "issues" with captive animals, this Zoo is part of several
    reintroduction programs, from Big Horns to Mexican wolves.
    
    We even saw my very first example ever of the Thick-Billed Parrot, our only
    former United States native parrot species. A beautiful bird, driven off from
    its former U.S. habitats, and also declining in its current Mexican range. Get
    it while you can; I fear that handwriting is on the wall.
    
    Best of show for our entire trip were a couple of fringe-toed lizards in a
    sugar-sand wash environment, pale and beautiful, with a pink wash across their
    belly, standing on tip-toes, and with black and white banded undersides to their
    tails. When one was ready to move, it curled its tail over its back, stood up on
    its hind legs and ZIP! it was gone! Their flattened faces allow them to dive
    into the sand and bury themselves in the blink of an eye. Very impressive
    beasts.
    
    Thanks to Rusty for showing us such wonderful habitats for birds and other
    wildlife in our marvelous S. California deserts. We will be back!
    
    Debbie Viess
    Oakland, Califoria
  8. -back to top-
  9. Visit to Southern California - September 2010 LINK
    DATE: Jun 2, 2010 @ 11:04pm, 8 year(s) ago
    Hi everyone
    
    I may be visiting Southern California from Wales for a week at the beginning of
    September 2010.
    
    This would be a family trip, based in Santa Monica, but I will have a rental car
    and don;t mind travelling in search of birds.
    
    I would really appreciate your views on the likelihood of my seeing the
    following birds at that time of year, please:
    
    Lewis's Woodpecker
    Red-naped Sapsucker
    Vaux's Swift
    Western Screech Owl
    Common Poorwill
    Red Knot
    California Condor
    Grey Vireo
    Cassin's Vireo
    Swainson's Thrush - Russet-backed form
    Sage Thrasher
    Bendire's Thrasher
    Le Conte's Thrasher
    Lawrence's Goldfinch
    Sooty Fox Sparrow
    Slate-colored Fox Sparrow
    Large-billed Sparrow
    Rufous-crowned Sparrow
    
    Any suggestions about specific locations to search for these birds would be very
    gratefully received.
    
    Also, can you recommend any bird guides based in that area who I may be able to
    hire to help me find these birds
    
    Finally, would you be able to suggest anyone I could contact with respect to
    pelagic seabird trips in that area at that time of year
    
    All help and suggestions would be extremely welcome.
    
    Many thanks in advance
    
    Gruff Dodd
  10. -back to top-
  11. SE Farallon Bird Wave including Yellow-breasted Bunting LINK
    DATE: Oct 16, 2009 @ 6:30pm, 9 year(s) ago
    Hi Cal Birders,
    
    After several weeks of very few birds, we finally got a good migration wave.
    The wave started on 8 October with good number of western birds. On the 9th, we
    had ideal fallout conditions and the birds kept coming and coming. The
    Violet-green Swallows were the most obvious as everytime you'd try to count them
    there would be more. Also conspicuous were the Yellow-rumped Warblers which
    were flycatching off the rocks everywhere. A very drab BLUE-HEADED VIREO turned
    up early in the morning that I initially dismissed as a Cassin's Vireo, but I
    became more interested in it after I got some better looks, though, we still
    could not be certain of the ID until I examined some photos that Kristie Nelson
    took with my camera late in the day that showed the complete white edging to the
    outer rectrices. In the early afternoon, Ryan spotted a GRAY-CHEECKED THRUSH
    amongst the hordes of Hermit Thrushes on the, tough to view, northside of the
    lighthouse. We ended the
    day with an incredible 1332 landbirds seen on the island. Island high counts
    were set for Violet-green Swallow and Audubon's Warbler. See below for a more
    detailed list.
    
    The following day brought more ideal weather, but fewer birds. Today was the
    last day for Matt Brady, Kristie Nelson, and me, and we only had half a day to
    bird. Because we had to pack our gear and clean, we did not get much time to
    look at birds in the morning. Ryan Terrill, Jill Gautreaux, Mark Dettling, and
    Andrew Greene were staying behind and Pete Warzybok was coming out on the boat.
    After I went over some of our protocols with Pete at the lighthouse, he and I
    started heading down the trail. About halfway down, I flushed two birds from
    the side of the trail – one was a junco, the other was similar sized, but had
    a brown back with white outer rectrices. I thought it would be a Vesper Sparrow
    so I stopped to take a look at it. The bird did not have a Vesper-type eyering,
    and it had strong buffy lines down the back. I told Pete, “I’m not sure
    what this bird is.” I thought maybe a longspur, but quickly ruled them out
    for various
    reasons. The bird had a strong mustard-yellow wash across the chest, narrow
    (but distinct) streaking on the sides and flanks, conical bill larger than the
    junco's with a black maxilla and pink lower mandible, a dark line wrapping
    around the auricular and pale lores, short wings, and white outer rectrices on a
    moderately long tail. I then realized that I was looking at an Asian bunting; I
    was thinking Yellow-breasted Bunting, but didn’t want to say that because I
    didn't really know the field marks for this bird, and I wasn’t sure about
    other possibilities such as Yellowhammer. At that moment, I heard somebody
    mentioning on the radio something about the Black-throated Green Warbler that
    Kristie had seen just 20 minutes earlier. Over the radio, I said something
    like, “Drop whatever you’re doing, there’s a bunting from Asia up here.”
    Matt, Ryan, and Kristie then started sprinting up the hillside. Unfortunately,
    the bunting flew up Little
    Lighthouse Hill by the time they got there and we could not relocate it before
    leaving. On the boat, Matt showed me all the possibilities in the Birds of East
    Asia book, and it was undoubtedly a YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING. It was certainly a
    good bird to see just before leaving, but I feel bad that nobody else saw it.
    Sadly, the rest of the crew still on the island were not able to relocate it
    either. So no photos and no resight does not bode well for CBRC acceptance, but
    I'll submit my description anyway.
    
    The highlights of our bird wave are listed below:
    
    --9 October: 87 spp of migrants, 1332 individual landbirds
    Intergrade Flicker: 1
    Least Flycatcher: 1
    BLUE-HEADED VIREO: 1
    Red-eyed Vireo: 1
    Violet-green Swallow: 250 - island high count
    GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH: 1
    Hermit Thrush: 100
    Tennessee Warbler: 1
    Audubon's Warbler: 400 - island high count
    Blackburnian Warbler: 1
    Blackpoll Warbler: 1
    American Redstart: 1
    Ovenbird: 1
    Clay-colored Sparrow: 2
    Brewer's Sparrow: 1
    Song Sparrow: 1 morphna
    White-throated Sparrow: 7
    Chestnut-collared Longspur: 1
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1
    Bobolink: 1
    Lawrence's Goldfinch: 1
    
    --10 October: 85 migrant bird species, 692 individual landbirds
    Greater white-fronted Goose:1
    Band-tailed Pigeon: 1
    Common Poorwill: 1 (not an arrival)
    Horned Lark: 1
    Hammond's Flycatcher: 1
    Golden-crowned Kinglet: 59 -island high count
    Ruby-crowbed Kinglet: 54
    American Pipit: 69
    Chestnut-sided Warbler: 1
    Magnolia Warbler: 1
    Black-throated Green Warbler: 1
    Palm Warbler: 1
    Black-and-white Warbler: 1
    White-throated Sparrow: 8 -island high count
    YELLOW-BREASTED BUNTING: 1
    Orchard Oriole: 1
    
    --11 October--
    Northern Shoveler:1
    Tropical Kingbird:1
    Weird American Pipit (see IDfrontiers post, and this link:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/henicorhina)
    Black-throated Blue Warbler: 1
    Ovenbird: 1
    Lark Bunting: 1
    Yellow-headed Blackbird: 1
    
    James R. Tietz
    Davis, CA
  12. -back to top-
  13. Update on Luke Cole Memorial Challenge LINK
    DATE: Sep 30, 2009 @ 4:05pm, 9 year(s) ago
    Hi all,
    
    Hopefully at least most of you are aware that this past weekend was the Luke
    Cole Memorial Challenge. We had birders out in at least 48 of California's 58
    counties. The California birding community came through in a big way and we are
    deeply grateful.
    
    We are continuing to solicit sightings from throughout the state. Soon we will
    post a link to a spreadsheet containing the list for each county and ask all of
    you to look it over and see if you found species on either September 26th or
    27th that are not on the list.
    
    In the meantime, the thrust of our fun/fund-raising effort was a cumulative list
    for the entire state. I'm not sure that anyone has ever attempted to calculate
    the number of birds seen in California for a single day or weekend and Luke, who
    kept lists of virtually everything, would have loved the idea. The list
    currently stands at a whopping 379 species and we may yet add a couple more.
    
    Here is the list:
    
    Greater White-fronted Goose
    Ross' Goose
    Brant
    Cackling Goose
    Canada Goose
    Tundra Swan
    Wood Duck
    Gadwall
    Eurasian Wigeon
    American Wigeon
    Mallard
    Blue-winged Teal
    Cinnamon Teal
    Northern Shoveler
    Northern Pintail
    Green-winged Teal
    Canvasback
    Redhead
    Ring-necked Duck
    Greater Scaup
    Lesser Scaup
    Harlequin Duck
    Surf Scoter
    White-winged Scoter
    Bufflehead
    Hooded Merganser
    Common Merganser
    Red-breasted Merganser
    Ruddy Duck
    Mountain Quail
    California Quail
    Gambel's Quail
    Chukar
    RIng-necked Pheasant
    Sooty Grouse
    Wild Turkey
    Red-throated Loon
    Pacific Loon
    Common Loon
    Pied-billed Grebe
    Horned Grebe
    Red-necked Grebe
    Eared Grebe
    Western Grebe
    Clark's Grebe
    Black-footed Albatross
    Northern Fulmar
    Pink-footed Shearwater
    Flesh-footed Shearwater
    Buller's Shearwater
    Sooty Shearwater
    Black-vented Shearwater
    Manx Shearwater
    Wilson's Storm-Petrel
    Ashy Storm-Petrel
    Black Storm-Petrel
    Least Storm-Petrel
    Blue-footed Booby
    Brown Booby
    American White Pelican
    Brown Pelican
    Brandt's Cormorant
    Double-crested Cormorant
    Pelagic Cormorant
    American Bittern
    Least Bittern
    Great Blue Heron
    Great Egret
    Snowy Egret
    Little Blue Heron
    Reddish Egret
    Cattle Egret
    Green Heron
    Black-crowned Night-Heron
    White-faced Ibis
    Turkey Vulture
    California Condor
    Osprey
    White-tailed Kite
    Bald Eagle
    Northern Harrier
    Sharp-shinned Hawk
    Cooper's Hawk
    Red-shouldered Hawk
    Broad-winged Hawk
    Swainson's Hawk
    Red-tailed Hawk
    Ferruginous Hawk
    Golden Eagle
    Crested Caracara
    American Kestrel
    Merlin
    Prairie Falcon
    Peregrine Falcon
    Black Rail
    Clapper Rail
    Virginia Rail
    Sora
    Common Moorhen
    American Coot
    Sandhill Crane
    Black-bellied Plover
    American Golden-Plover
    Pacific Golden Plover
    Snowy Plover
    Semipalmated Plover
    Killdeer
    American Oystercatcher
    Black Oystercatcher
    Black-necked Stilt
    American Avocet
    Spotted Sandpiper
    Solitary Sandpiper
    Wandering Tattler
    Greater Yellowlegs
    Willet
    Lesser Yellowlegs
    Whimbrel
    Long-billed Curlew
    Hudsonian Godwit
    Marbled Godwit
    Ruddy Turnstone
    Black Turnstone
    Surfbird
    Red Knot
    Sanderling
    Semipalmated Sandpiper
    Western Sandpiper
    Least Sandpiper
    Baird's Sandpiper
    Pectoral Sandpiper
    Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
    Dunlin
    Stilt Sandpiper
    Short-billed Dowitcher
    Long-billed Dowitcher
    Wilson's Snipe
    Wilson's Phalarope
    Red-necked Phalarope
    Red Phalarope
    Sabine's Gull
    Bonaparte's Gull
    Laughing Gull
    Franklin's Gull
    Heerman's Gull
    Mew Gull
    Ring-billed Gull
    Western Gull
    Yellow-footed Gull
    California Gull
    Herring Gull
    Glaucous-winged Gull
    Gull-billed Tern
    Caspian Tern
    Black Tern
    Common Tern
    Arctic Tern
    Forster's Tern
    Royal Tern
    Elegant Tern
    Black Skimmer
    South Polar Skua
    Pomarine Jaeger
    Parasitic Jaeger
    Long-tailed Jaeger
    Common Murre
    Pigeon Guillemot
    Marbled Murrelet
    Xantu's Murrelet
    Cassin's Auklet
    Rhinoceros Auklet
    Tufted Puffin
    Rock Pigeon
    Band-tailed Pigeon
    Eurasian Collored-Dove
    White-winged Dove
    Mourning Dove
    Inca Dove
    Common Ground-Dove
    Red-crowned Parrot
    Greater Roadrunner
    Barn Owl
    Western Screech-Owl
    Great Horned Owl
    Northern Pygmy-Owl
    Burrowing Owl
    Spotted Owl
    Barred Owl
    Great Gray Owl
    Long-eared Owl
    Northern Saw-whet Owl
    Lesser Nighthawk
    Common Poorwill
    Black Swift
    Vaux's Swift
    White-throated Swift
    Black-chinned Hummingbird
    Anna's Hummingbird
    Costa's Hummingbird
    Rufous Hummingbird
    Allen's Hummingbird
    Belted Kingfisher
    Lewis' Woodpecker
    Acorn Woodpecker
    Gila Woodpecker
    Williamson's Sapsucker
    Red-naped Sapsucker
    Red-breasted Sapsucker
    Ladder-backed Woodpecker
    Nuttall's Woodpecker
    Downy Woodpecker
    Hairy Woodpecker
    White-headed Woodpecker
    Black-backed Woodpecker
    Northern Flicker
    Pileated Woodpecker
    Olive-sided Flycatcher
    Western Wood-Pewee
    Willow Flycatcher
    Hammond's Flycatcher
    Gray Flycatcher
    Dusky Flycatcher
    Pacific-slope Flycatcher
    Black Phoebe
    Say's Phoebe
    Vermillion Flycatcher
    Ash-throated Flycatcher
    Great-crested Flycatcher
    Tropical Kingbird
    Cassin's Kingbird
    Western Kingbird
    Loggerhead Shrike
    White-eyed Vireo
    Bell's Vireo
    Yellow-throated Vireo
    Plumbeous Vireo
    Cassin's Vireo
    Hutton's Vireo
    Warbling Vireo
    Philadelphia Vireo
    Red-eyed Vireo
    Gray Jay
    Steller's Jay
    Island Scrub-Jay
    Western Scrub-Jay
    Pinyon Jay
    Clark's Nutcracker
    Black-billed Magpie
    Yellow-billed Magpie
    American Crow
    Common Raven
    Horned Lark
    Purple Martin
    Tree Swallow
    Violet-green Swallow
    Northern Rough-winged Swallow
    Bank Swallow
    Cliff Swallow
    Barn Swallow
    Black-capped Chickadee
    Mountain Chickadee
    Chestnut-backed Chickadee
    Oak Titmouse
    Juniper Titmouse
    Verdin
    Bushtit
    Red-breasted Nuthatch
    White-breasted Nuthatch
    Pygmy Nuthatch
    Brown Creeper
    Cactus Wren
    Rock Wren
    Canyon Wren
    Bewick's Wren
    House Wren
    Winter Wren
    Marsh Wren
    American Dipper
    Golden-crowned Kinglet
    Ruby-crowned Kinglet
    Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    California Gnatcatcher
    Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
    Western Bluebird
    Mountain Bluebird
    Townsend's Solitaire
    Swainson's Thrush
    Hermit Thrush
    American Robin
    Varied Thrush
    Wrentit
    Gray Catbird
    Northern Mockingbird
    Sage Thrasher
    Brown Thrasher
    California Thrasher
    European Starling
    American Pipit
    Cedar Waxwing
    Phainopepla
    Tennessee Warbler
    Orange-crowned Warbler
    Nashville Warbler
    Lucy's Warbler
    Northern Parula
    Yellow Warbler
    Chestnut-sided Warbler
    Black-thr. Blue Warbler
    Yellow-rumped Warbler
    Black-th Gray Warbler
    Townsend's Warbler
    Hermit Warbler
    Blackburnian Warbler
    Prairie Warbler
    Bay-breasted Warbler
    Blackpoll Warbler
    Black-and-white Warbler
    American Redstart
    Northern Waterthrush
    MacGillivray's Warbler
    Common Yellowthroat
    Hooded Warbler
    Wilson's Warbler
    Canada Warbler
    Yellow-breasted
    Green-tailed Towhee
    Spotted Towhee
    California Towhe
    Abert's Towhee
    Rufous-crowned Sparrow
    Chipping Sparrow
    Clay-colored Sparrow
    Brewer's Sparrow
    Vesper Sparrow
    Lark Sparrow
    Black-throated Sparrow
    Sage Sparrow
    Lark Bunting
    Savannah Sparrow
    Grasshopper Sparrow
    Fox SParrow
    Song Sparrow
    Lincoln's Sparrow
    White-throated Sparrow
    Golden-crowned Sparrow
    White-crowned Sparrow
    Dark-eyed Junco
    Lapland Longspur
    Summer Tanage
    Western Tanager
    Rose-breasted Grosbeak
    Black-headed Grosbeak
    Blue Grosbeak
    Lazuli Bunting
    Indigo Bunting
    Painted Bunting
    Dickcissel
    Bobolink
    Red-winged Blackbird
    Tricolored Blackbird
    Western Meadowlark
    Yellow-headed Blackbird
    Brewer's Blackbird
    Great-tailed Grackle
    Brown-headed Cowbird
    Orchard Oriole
    Hooded Oriole
    Bullock's Oriole
    Pine Grosbeak
    Purple Finch
    Cassin's Finch
    House Finch
    Red Crossbill
    Pine Siskin
    Lesser Goldfinch
    Lawrence's Goldfinch
    American Goldfinch
    Evening Grosbeak
    House Sparrow
    
    If you happen to know about any species that aren't listed above, please let us
    know.
    
    Also, it isn't too late to make a pledge. If you would like to do so, please
    follow this link:
    
    http://www.markeaton.org/lukeColeChallenge.html
    
    Thanks to everyone who helped out with this, more soon!
    
    Steve Glover
    Mark Eaton
    Alan Hopkins
    Brent Plater
  14. -back to top-
  15. PA Birders' Report on SoCal and a Huge Thanks! (LONG) LINK
    DATE: Jul 16, 2009 @ 11:08am, 9 year(s) ago
    Amy and I just wanted to say thank you to all the very nice people
    
    who were sohelpful in providing the information that made our first
    
    ever birding trip to California so much fun and such a great success.
    
    I thought we should report on how our trip went. I apologize in
    
    advance for itslength. I should also mention in advance that we made
    
    a conscious effort to keep moving and not spend too much time
    
    getting the perfect shot, especially since the majority of the bird
    
    photos are digiscoped. Needless to say the quality of the photos
    
    and one audio recording (actually video) vary greatly (mostly from
    
    pretty bad to awful ;).
    
    Tuesday 7/7- We woke up late due to our late Monday night flight
    and stopped at the Zzyzx Reasearch facility on our way to Placentia. It
    was already late enough to be a toasty 105 degrees and the birds were
    really not that active but then neither were we. We managed a few birds
    including our first Lifer of the trip, a juvenile BLACK-THROATED
    SPARROW. We found a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, a WESTERN KINGBIRD (Photos) and
    we also found that yes, even your eyeballs can sweat at 105 degrees. Or
    maybe I was just crying. From there it was on to Placentia to visit
    family. We all decided to visit Laguna Beach for the sunset where we
    found a much anticipated bird, a gorgeous HEERMANNS GULL (Photos)
    which not only confirmed Amys opinion that it is the most beautiful
    large Gull in North America but also gave her life bird number 400! In
    an apparent attempt to show us who's the boss here on the left coast,
    the Pacific Ocean attempted to swallow both our scope and Nat Geo Guide
    with a rogue wave while we were taking pics on the beach. Happily,
    although it soaked our book (It was new so it needed some character
    anyway), it did not succeed in engulfing the scope. My decision to carry
    around a 30 pound tripod is again vindicated!
    
    Wednesday was going to be a busy. Coastal Orange Co. and an
    afternoon trip to the Salton Sea were on tap. We started at sunrise at
    Back Bay blvd looking for our main target the California Gnatcatcher. We
    didnt find it there but we did have great looks at 3 LONG-BILLED
    CURLEWS enjoying breakfast and a SPOTTED TOWHEE. We were off to
    Crystal Cove State Park. A walk to Pelican Point yielded a Cali trifecta:
    CALIFORNIA GNATCHERS,TOWHEES (Photo), and THRASHERS (Photo).
    One of the other new birds to us included the coastal subspecies of BUSHTIT
    (Photo). Next stop Bolsa Chica where we found that the
    ELEGANT TERNS (Photo) were indeed Abundant as the checklist states and
    we also enjoyed fantasticlooks at SNOWY PLOVER (Photo) and LEAST TERNS.
    Least terns chicks are ridiculously cute, btw. They ranged from tiny fluff balls
    to beautifully marked little Proto-terns (Photo). We struck out on Red-crowned
    Parrots near the Block and vicinity and headed out for the Salton Sea.
    East of the sea and en route to the South end we saw a WHITE-WINGED DOVE
    flying along the road. At the Wister unit we found LESSER NIGHTHAWKS
    (Photo) which were active and a search around the dikes yielded our
    first look at a COMMON MOORHEN, previously a heard only bird for
    us. Having read that Wood Storks are no longer as common a summer
    visitor as they once were, we feared we may miss out on our short visit.
    That is until we checked out a flock of WHITE-FACED IBIS, CALIFORNIA
    GULLS and RING-BILLED GULLS (Photo) and a stork flew by, sending us
    running to the car, actually it was 110 degrees so I ran like 10 feet
    and walked, cursing the rest of the way. Once my eyes cleared from the
    sweat (or tears) we drove to the end of McDonald road and found at least
    a dozen WOOD STORKS (photo) VERY far away. Happy as clams at even a
    distant view, we began the long drive Backwards to Davis road. About
    twenty yards from the end Amy, whose head was hanging out the passenger
    window keeping me from driving off the dike, calmly remarked, Jeff,
    the storks are right here. There were now two Wood Storks (Photos) in
    the water right next to the car. We got great looks at this lifer and
    some decent photos to boot. From there we headed to Garst Road with
    brief stops to check out one of the 4 GREATER ROAD RUNNERS (Photo) we
    would see and the first of the many BURROWING OWLS (Photo) we would also
    come across. It was a very nice birthday present for me especially since
    this bird completed my list of owl species of Eastern North America for
    the year (Photo)! Even though it didnt come in the east I will take
    it! At Garst rd. we found More close in Wood Storks (Photo) and the bird
    that makes the sea a must for any birder, YELLOW-FOOTED GULL (Photo).
    There were also plenty of RUDDY DUCKS and CINNAMON TEAL to be seen. A
    quick drive down to the Pig Farm area (we couldn't find any pigs,
    just a vicious pack of roving Miniature Doberman Pinschers, whose
    ferocity was matched only be their tinyness!) yielded a COMMON GROUND
    DOVE drinking in the water on the berm next to the road and an ABERTS
    TOWHEE on a line in a backyard. The sun was setting (photos) and we
    still had to drive the Oxnard so out we headed.
    
    Thursday we did a family trip to Santa Cruz Island. We hadnt
    even left the harbor and we already had our life BRANDTS CORMORANT
    sitting on a pier. On the way to the island we saw several SOOTY
    SHEARWATERS, PIDGEON GUILLEMOT (Distant Photo) and at least one, maybe
    2, XANTUS MURRELET went flying by. There was even a crew member that
    used to do pelagics and he was very helpful in spotting birds and with
    IDs. When we landed at Prisoners Cove we prepared ourselves for a
    hike having heard from the crew that recently they had to do
    considerable searching to find the islands star, the Island Scrub
    Jay. The guide had no more than started her orientation speech when we
    heard the ISLAND SCRUB JAYS (Photos) noisy squawk from right over
    head. Down it flew, perching in the low branches of the tree. It was too
    close to digiscope! It put on a fantastic show and even hung around
    while we ate our lunch. Also near the beach were both PACIFIC-SLOPE and
    ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHERS.A short hike up the hill to the nearest
    overlook yielded a gorgeous view but few birds of note except for a
    HOODED ORIOLE which certainly surprised us. On the trip back we saw our
    one and only BLACK OYSTERCATCHER and PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER. After a
    lovely dinner at the pier we headed to the Santa Ynez valley to see if
    we could get lucky with a Yellow-billed Magpie on Happy Canyon road. We
    didnt! So off we drove to Lake Isabella to spend the night and get up
    and bird the Kern River Valley area early in the morning.
    On Friday we were in bed by 1:00am and up at 4:30am ready to enjoy
    our only day with a guide. We had the good fortune to be
    birding the Kern River Valley and surroundings with Bob Barnes, who as
    many of you know wrote the chapter on the KRV in Brad Schrams
    wonderful SoCal Birding book. The excitement carried us though the tired
    (5 hour energy drinks helped too). Anyway, we were in great hands and
    lifers came fast and furious the whole day. From the CLARKS GREBES
    (Photos) on Isabella Lake to CALIFORNIA QUAIL (Photo), BLACK-CHINNED
    HUMMINGBIRD, and NUTTALS WOODPECKER at the Kern River Valley Preserve
    we were starting off great. Things really heated up as we followed the
    Chimney Peak Nat'l Backcountry By-way up into the mountains where we had
    CACTUS (Photo), CANYON (Photo), ROCK (Photo), and BEWICK'S WRENS all calling at
    one place. A little further on we had MOUNTAIN QUAIL put on a great show
    with at least a half dozen calling up a storm and strutting through the
    brush in the valley below us giving tantalizingly brief looks. At the
    Chimney Peak Campground, Amy and I were lucky enough to get great looks
    at a HERMIT WARBLER along with many, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES, WESTERN
    TANAGERS and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS. We moved on to find MOUNTAIN
    BLUEBIRDS (Photo), on Kennedy Meadow rd. and STELLERS JAY (Photo).
    Down Nine Mile Canyon rd. we missed Chukar but we did have an amazing
    look at a GOLDEN EAGLE (Photo) perched on boulder over the canyon! Now
    THAT is Birding in the West! We also had great luck with woodpeckers,
    finding WHITE-HEADED and ACORN WOODPECKERS (Photo). At Fish Creek
    Campground (We think. It was definitely somewhere!) we had both
    WILLIAMSONS (Photo) and RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKERS (Photo). I even got a
    (not a very good) photo with both Sapsuckers on the same tree. Very
    cool! We also did well with Vireos getting HUTTONS, PLUMBEOUS, and
    CASSINS VIREOS. It took some effort but we were rewarded with
    outstanding looks at MACGILLIVRAYS WARBLER at Holey Meadow and OAK
    TITMOUSE at a Campground near Isabella Reservoir. A nice surprise for
    the day was a pair of BAND-TAILED PIDGEONS (Photo) perched on a
    broken tree on Sierra Way. A non-birding surprise came while we were
    approaching the river past the Main Dam to look for Dippers, which we
    didnt find. Standing along the river, not far from some California
    Quail, was a BOBCAT (Photo). It saw us too and stared us down as it
    walked slowly away. To finish off the day, we got to enjoy a family of
    Acorn Woodpeckers (Photo) storing food and coming in and out of their
    hole in a High-voltage electricity pole. Nice. All in all it was a
    wonderful day and Bob was a wonderful guide! I couldnt recommend him
    highly enough to anyone looking to get the most out of a visit to the
    Kern River Valley. A big Thanks to Bob!
    
    Saturday we had to catch a flight out of Vegas at 10:20 pm so we
    decided to bird the Kern River Valley in the morning to try pick up a
    few more lifers. We stopped and took photos of
    the Grebes at Lake Isabella with their babies riding on their backs. On
    the way to the Preserve we spotted a TRICOLORED BLACKBIRD at a ranch
    near the road. Then at the Preserve we got our best Hummingbird photos
    of both ANNAS and Black-Chinned (Photos) and found what appeared to
    be a Bicolored RED-WINGED BLACKBIRD under the feeder with some
    LARK SPARROWS. On our drive out we met a group of birders who pointed
    out one of the federally endangered Southwestern subspecies of WILLOW
    FLYCATCHER. The leader also mentioned that there was a breeding pair of
    Brown-crested Flycatchers in the preserve. That was a big miss so we
    drove out of the Preserve intending to turn around and head right back
    in to look for these birds. We pulled out of the wooded area and there,
    not 10 yards from the car perched on the fence
    between the woods and the field, was a BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Photo)
    and then another. Unfortunately, I couldnt get a close shot but I did
    manage a more distant one as we watched the two birds hunting bugs in
    the field. I should also say much to our relief we heard the birds
    calling numerous times to confirm our ID! From there we headed up to
    the mountains and to the Chimney Creek Campground where we struck out
    again on Gray Flycatcher but this time we did find a female
    BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER. Further on we picked up another bird that
    had Amy, our resident Corvid Lover, particularly excited, PINYON JAY
    (Photo). A flock of at least 50 flew over the road in fits and starts
    and we pulled over to enjoy the view. The last bird that we had time to
    try for was down Nine Mile Canyon road. Amy, who is extremely afraid of
    heights, could barely take going down it yesterday with an experienced
    local driver at the helm. It took every ounce of courage that she
    possesses to let this mountain driving rookie chauffeur her down the
    twisting road that hangs over huge drops and barely fits two cars side
    by side in places. But her great courage was rewarded with a great bird.
    This time around we picked up a group of CHUKAR (Audio. Unfortunately
    the wind ruined all the sound recordings (videos) except this one and it
    nearly ruined this one.) calling from a cut in the Canyon above the
    road. Despite our best efforts we couldnt see them but their
    Chuck-Chuck-Chuck call was music to our ears. This was our last stop
    before we lit out for Las Vegas and our flight home.
    
    This being my first trip west of PA I was expecting there would
    be ample opportunity for new birds but the 77 Lifers I gained exceeded
    even my most optimistic expectations.
    
    Thanks to everyone and we cannot wait for our next visit.
    
    Checkout our bird photos at the link below:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffamy/
    
    The California Photos start on the bottom of Page 6:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffamy/page6/
    
    Here is our Lifer list:
    Cinnamon Teal, Chukar, California Quail, Mountain Quail, Clark's Grebe,
    Pink-footed Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Brandt's Cormorant, Pelagic
    Cormorant, Wood Stork, Snowy Plover, Black Oystercatcher, Long-billed
    Curlew, Western Gull, California Gull, Heermann's Gull, Yellow-footed Gull,
    Elegant Tern,
    Pigeon Guillemot, Xantus's Murrelet, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-winged
    Dove, Common Ground-Dove, Greater Roadrunner, Burrowing Owl, Lesser
    Nighthawk, White-throated Swift, Allen's Hummingbird, Black-chinned
    Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Nuttall's Woodpecker, White-headed
    Woodpecker, Acorn Woodpecker, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Williamson's
    Sapsucker, Pacific-slope Flycatcher, Western Wood-pewee, Black Phoebe,
    Brown-crested Flycatcher, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike,
    Hutton's Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, Steller's Jay, Western
    Scrub-Jay, Island Scrub-Jay, Pinyon Jay, Mountain Chickadee, Oak
    Titmouse, Bushtit, Bewick's Wren, Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Cactus Wren,
    California Gnatcatcher, Western Bluebird, Wrentit, California Thrasher,
    Phainopepla, Hermit Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray's
    Warbler, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, Abert's
    Towhee, Black-throated Sparrow, Sage Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Black-headed
    Grosbeak, Lazuli Bunting, Brewer's Blackbird, Great-tailed Grackle,
    Tricolored Blackbird, Hooded Oriole, Lesser Goldfinch.
    
    regards,
    jeff
    
    Downingtown, PA
    
    Checkout our bird photos at the link below:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffamy/
    
    "Birding Like I Have Six Months To Live"
    
    
  16. -back to top-
  17. Fw: Highlights of Santa Barbara CBC, Jan. 3 '09 LINK
    DATE: Jan 4, 2009 @ 4:34pm, 9 year(s) ago
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Joan Lentz"
    To: "sbcobirding"
    Sent: Sunday, January 04, 2009 8:30 AM
    Subject: Highlights of Santa Barbara CBC, Jan. 3 '09
    
    > Hi Birders:
    > Below is a brief summary of another fantastic Santa Barbara Audubon
    > Society Christmas Bird Count. The PRELIMINARY TOTAL IS 209 species.
    >
    > WINTER WREN (Eastern race, possible/probable split from Western soon)
    > GRACE'S WARBLER
    > NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH
    > Ancient Murrelet (2)
    > Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
    > Gray Flycatcher
    > Cassin's Vireo
    > Tennessee Warbler
    > American Redstart
    > Hooded Oriole (adult male)
    >
    > Other sightings included (please forgive the order here, I want to get
    > this out quickly):
    > Eurasian Wigeon, White-winged Scoter, Red-necked Grebe, White-winged
    > Dove, Burrowing Owl,
    > Spotted Owl, Tropical Kingbird (2), Tree Swallow(s), Red-naped
    > Sapsucker, Summer Tanager (2),
    > Black-and-white Warbler, Palm Warber (2), Bald Eagle (3).
    >
    > Some observations: We noted the seemingly low numbers of common
    > landbirds, and a general lack of montane species (both in the mountains &
    > on
    > the coastal plain). Some species are definitely increasing on the Count:
    > Long-billed Curlew, Cassin's Kingbird, and Allen's Hummingbird. Others
    > are
    > declining: Ruddy Turnstone and Green Heron come to mind.
    > Unprecedented numbers of Glaucous-winged Gulls (mostly all first year)
    > were a total of 57. Black Skimmers were at an all-time high of nearly 420
    > birds wintering at East Beach and Goleta Beach and even Coal Oil Point.
    >
    > Thanks to all the wonderful coverage -- both before and after the
    > CBC --
    > by local and out-of-town birders. Come join us next year! We always have
    > fun!
    >
    > Joan Lentz, Compiler
    >
    >
    >
  18. -back to top-
  19. SAN BENITO COUNTY: SABINE'S GULL & AMERICAN REDSTART LINK
    DATE: Sep 19, 2008 @ 8:37pm, 10 year(s) ago
    Howdy, Birders,
    
    Unable to stand it any longer, I finally grabbed my lattte and headed
    to PAICINES RESERVOIR about 30 miles south of Hollister on Highway
    25, this chilly morning at 7 am. A light breeze from the east made it
    feel like winter already, with temps only 49F. Upon arriving at
    Paicines, I immediately found the male ADULT BALD EAGLE sitting in
    the oak grove on the far side. Nice to have coffee with the eagle.
    The small willow tree directly across from the Highway 25 pullout had
    several chipping warblers. The same tree became dripping with
    warblers once the sun hit it from behind me. (Great viewing
    conditions here in the early morning, and not so great in the
    afternoon). I scoped around, finding most of the usual birds, and was
    debating with myself about stayin' or leavin'. I'm not an impatient
    sort, but I am a "movin on" kind of girl. But, a good birder friend
    taught me the beauty of waiting for more. And, yup, more it was. At
    7:45 am, a JUVENILE SABINE'S GULL was sitting on the water, on my
    next search. I never saw it fly in, nor did I see it fly out! Well,
    there's a lot to look at in this spot. Mostly, it sat on the water,
    but twice it did fly up, showing the distinctive wing pattern. Felt
    like I was on a pelagic trip, again!! I watched it for about 5
    minutes, went to get my camera, and it was gone. It is doubtful that
    I could have obtained any image of it, since it was so far away. To
    my knowledge, this is only the second San Benito County record of
    Sabine's Gull, and the first fall record.
    
    As the sun rose the willow tree became alive with more and more
    activity: YELLOW WARBLER (3), NASHVILLE WARBLER (1) COMMON
    YELLOWTHROAT (5), ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER (3), YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER
    (1), HERMIT WARBLER (1- new for this location for me)., WARBLING
    VIREO (1), CASSIN'S VIREO (1) and WILLOW FLYCATCHER (1). The drip
    irrigation in the vineyard behind me came on, and many WESTERN
    BLUEBIRDS and LESSER GOLDFINCHES showed up. Activity in the willow
    tree died down. I think that there must be some puddles of water
    under the tree. And, my guess is that the warblers went down for
    bathing, as many reappeared, cleaning their feathers. Other
    passerines of note included: LINCOLN'S SPARROWS (4), CASSIN'S
    KINGBIRD (1), and BEWICK'S WREN (1). The water level is down quite a
    bit, exposing a very nice mudflat area. LEAST (4) and WESTERN (5)
    SANDPIPERS, GREATER (1) and LESSER (1) YELLOWLEGS, BLACK-NECKED STILT
    (1), LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER (2), SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (1), and WHITE
    PELICAN (2) were present along with a few ducks: CANVASBACK, RUDDY
    DUCKS, and MALLARDS.
    
    On my way to town, I saw two EURASIAN COLLARED DOVES in Tres Pinos,
    where I stopped to use the restroom. I also noted that one of my
    favorite restaurants, Flap Jacks, closed down.
    
    At 10:15 am, I was at VISTA PARK HILL, a small park in downtown
    Hollister, with public access from Hill Street, off of the main drag
    in town. This is the highest point in town, heavily vegetated with a
    variety of introduced species. It has always been a draw for unusual
    birds. A substantial row of bottlebrush attracts many hummingbirds,
    orioles, grosbeaks, and tanagers in the spring. Most of the flowers
    area now faded. I pulled into the park, and parked in the very first
    parking places on the left of the bottlebrush bushes. Hearing CHESNUT-
    BACKED CHICKADEES in the tall eucalyptus trees on the left side of
    the entrance, I walked toward them. Immediately, 2 WARBLING VIREOS
    popped up and sat on the telephone wires! I thought that I heard a
    Northern Parula, and may well have, but a man was using one of those
    noisy leaf blowers! (Why the city wants to pay for blowing leaves as
    opposed to keeping the restrooms open, is beyond me). One pish, and
    the next bird in front of me was an AMERICAN REDSTART, first fall
    male, or female. I was so shocked! Ran for my camera in the car, and
    tried to get some shots, but it went higher in the tree. Doubtful if
    I got anything. As far as I know, this is the second record for San
    Benito County. I found one last fall, on private property. So, this
    is the first record accessible at a public spot.
    
    Birding around this small park, I also found: SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (1),
    NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER (2), ANNA'S HUMMINBIRD (5), OLIVE-SIDED
    FLYCATCHER (1), PACIFIC SLOPE-FLYCATCHER (1), SAY'S PHOEBE (1), OAK
    TITMOUSE (1), CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (4), BUSHTIT (H), WILSON'S
    WARBLER (1-male), WESTERN TANAGER (1), CALIFORNIA TOWHEE (3).
    
    Made a quick drive through the HOLLISTER INDUSTRIAL PONDS. Wow! 590
    NORTHERN SHOVELERS are all over the place, along with 194 WILSON'S
    PHALAROPES, 1 SPOTTED SANDPIPER, 1 WILLET, and a few other things.
    
    At home, I added CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE (1!) for a new yard bird.
    Great morning.
    
    Well, tomorrow morning I'll be back at Paicines Reservoir, early, for
    latte with the bald eagle. Please join me.
    
    Inland pelagics,
    Debra
    
    P.S. Birding in the afternoon in Hollister is not too much fun, as we
    almost always have wind at that time. Morning is best.
    
    Debra Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024
    831.637.8527
    debi@...
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    
    *Antarctica, South Georgia, & The Falkland Islands, January 5-24, 2010*
    Shearwater Journeys' Exclusive Charter
    
    
  20. -back to top-
  21. WFO/SJV Baja research expedition -- call for participants LINK
    DATE: Jun 9, 2008 @ 8:26pm, 10 year(s) ago
    Many California birders/field ornithologists regularly make trips down the
    Baja peninsula. Those of you with experience may find this of interest.
    
    If interested, please see contact info near the bottom of the post (do not
    contact me). Feel free to forward to other appropriate lists or
    recipients. (Sorry for any cross-posting.)
    
    Thanks.
    
    Cheers,
    -Gj
    
    ====================================
    Gjon C. Hazard
    Fish and Wildlife Biologist
    Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office
    Carlsbad, California
    ====================================
    
    -------
    
    Dear field ornithologists:
    
    The Sonoran Joint Venture (SJV) and the Western Field Ornithologists (WFO)
    are jointly coordinating a bird monitoring expedition to the remote Sierra
    de la Laguna Biosphere Reserve of southern Baja California Sur (BCS),
    Mexico, from July 13-19, 2008. The objective of this expedition is to use
    the collective expertise of WFO members and SJV participants to collect and
    record natural history data on birds of conservation interest in the
    Biosphere Reserve. These data will be used by the Reserve staff to manage
    habitat for the birds of conservation interest.
    
    The elevation of this mountain range is over 5,000 feet and it has an
    extensive pine-oak forest community at the top. As a result of genetic
    isolation, there are a variety of endemic bird subspecies found here, such
    as the “San Lucas” American Robin, “Baird’s” Yellow-eyed Junco, and
    the
    “Sierra de la Laguna” Band-tailed Pigeon. We have been invited by the
    Reserve to collect data on breeding information and habitat relationships
    of these and other bird species, to photograph and obtain vocalization
    recordings, and to take DNA samples of captured birds. This is not a
    guided birding trip or a leisurely hike up a mountain, but a true
    biological data collecting expedition. This expedition is extremely
    strenuous. We will hike in on foot ourselves while the mules will pack our
    equipment and food into the mountains. The hike one-way is about 11 miles
    and gains over 4,000 feet in elevation over a difficult trail. It will be
    very hot, potentially quite humid, and we may experience torrential summer
    rains as well. We will camp for 6 days under primitive conditions. Our
    camp will be self-supported and all participants will be expected to share
    cooking duties and the general maintenance of the camp facilities.
    Participants must be in good physical condition and have experience in
    back-country camping, bring their own camping equipment, and have basic
    first aid skills.
    
    Each participant will volunteer for specific research activity and be
    responsible for collecting data and in some cases organizing and/or
    processing the data. Participants must be experienced in the field
    research activity they volunteer for (see list and table below), and also
    will need to bring the necessary field equipment to accomplish their
    assignments. Generally the skills needed include: identification of the
    birds of southern Baja; experience with auditory surveys; obtaining sound
    recordings and photos of birds; mist netting; area searches; and/or habitat
    use surveys (or be a REALLY good camp cook). The data will be compiled,
    analyzed and published with our Mexican partners and participants as
    co-authors, and all publications and data will be shared with the Reserve.
    
    Target Bird Species:
    
    Band-tailed Pigeon** Columba fasciata vioscae
    Cape Pygmy Owl** Glaucidium gnoma hoskinsii
    Xantus's Hummingbird** Hylocharis xantusii
    Acorn Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivourus angustifrons
    Western Wood-Pewee Contopus sordidulus peninsulae
    Oak Titmouse** Parus inornatus cineraceus (Baeolophus inornatus
    cineraceus)
    White-breasted Nuthatch** Sitta carolinensis lagunae
    American (San Lucas) Robin** Turdus migratorius confinis
    Hutton's Vireo Vireo huttoni cognatus
    Cassin's Vireo Vireo cassini lucasanas
    Warbling Vireo Vireo gilvus victoriae
    Gray Thrasher** Toxostoma cinereum cinereum
    Yellow-eyed (Baird's) Junco** Junco phaeonotus bairdi
    Western Screech-Owl Otus asio xantusi/Megascops kennicottii
    
    **species we want to be sure to cover.
    
    If interested, please contact Carol Beardmore at the following address:
    
    Carol will be able to send you more detailed information on this great
    opportunity to do some real field work in one of the biologically unique
    areas of North America.
    
    Additional info about the organizers is available at:
    WFO
    SJV
    
    Thank you much.
  22. -back to top-
  23. White-eyed Vireo at Galileo Hills, Kern County LINK
    DATE: May 19, 2008 @ 9:31am, 10 year(s) ago
    Hi Birders
    
    Today Nick and I along with Paul Weers tagged up with Cin-Ty Lee,
    Blake Dyer, Stan Gray, and Greg Morton at Silver Saddle Resort at
    Galileo Hills, Kern County. The VARIED THRUSH was relocated where
    the creek enters the large paddle boat pond and also at the small
    pond at the other end of the creek, seeming to bounce back and forth
    between these two locations.
    
    And now for the exciting news! At 11AM, Blake and Cin-ty observed and
    photographed a vireo in this same area, but did not review the photos
    until about 3PM, at which time it became apparent - even on the small
    camera screen - that this was something much more unusual than a
    Bell's or Cassin's Vireo. The bird had a dark wing with two
    bold,white wing bars, substantial yellow wash underneath, bold yellow
    spectacles, a long,large,hooked bill, and what appeared to be a light
    eye! First-year WHITE-EYED VIREO was the best fit, but this ID would
    have to be confirmed that night on a computer screen. In the mean
    time, we returned to Galileo and tried in vane to relocate the bird
    for over an hour, before wind and time constraints required us to
    throw in the towel. The thrush is still there (as of 5PM), so
    hopefully the both birds will stick around a little longer.
    
    Mary & Nick Freeman
    Glendale, CA
    
    
  24. -back to top-
  25. California November 2007 Trip Report LINK
    DATE: Jan 12, 2008 @ 11:33am, 10 year(s) ago
    Hello,
    
    As a birder from Belgium I visited Southern California with my parents in
    November. As attachments are not allowed on your list, I pasted the text body
    under this e-mail. I hope you will enjoy reading it.
    
    Best regards,
    
    Bruno Bergmans
    Belgium
    
    California Dreamin'
    
    Birding California through the eyes of an overseas birder
    
    A California 8-24 November trip report
    
    Intro
    
    At first the prospect of birding California in November seemed not all that
    appealing. Indeed back home here in Belgium and actually a bit all over Europe,
    November is in general a rather quiet birding month. The peak of autumn
    migration is over and some of the more hardy wintering species have not arrived
    yet. Often the skies are low and grey and temperatures rather unpleasantly cool.
    The days can be dark and outings are too often accompanied by a slight drizzle.
    If the birds are thin on the ground, November is not the best month for other
    divertissements either: flowers are gone and -unless climate change stirs up
    things- usually most insects have died.
    
    So you can imagine my parents reluctance when I first suggested them the
    possibility to join me in California where I had to visit San Diego for work
    reasons in the beginning of November. The reading I had done beforehand offered
    me already a glimpse of what could be, but nevertheless the expectations were
    not that high reaching.
    
    Never on a trip before reality has surpassed that much our expectations. Indeed,
    we had a fabulous birding and natural history trip during a bit over 2 weeks we
    spent touring in Southern California. What seemed almost impossible beforehand
    came true: we even saw the desert in bloom!
    
    Our main guide on this trip was the excellent "Birding in Southern California"
    guide by Brad Schramm. This was really the most detailed and accurate birding
    guide I have ever seen. It was a great and reliable companion on our trip.
    
    Before starting off with our day-to-day account I would like to thank especially
    all very friendly local birders who helped made this trip the tremendous succes
    it was. Thanks a lot for answering my queries. A special word of thanks is
    reserved for Stanley W. and Eitan A. It was great birding with you, guys. I am
    very grateful you made such a special effort so that I would not miss any
    specialties in iconic birding spots like the famous "La Jolla Bench" and scenic
    Point Loma. Thank you so much!
    
    Day-to-day log
    
    Thursday 8 November: Huntington Beach
    
    Yesterday evening it dawned to us why in our birding guide it was so explicitly
    written one should not hit the motorway between San Diego and Los Angeles during
    rush hour except at last resort. Long traffic jams were our part...
    
    The next day was still overcast, but started nicely with a male Allen's
    hummingbird perched in a tree on a parking lot off Beach Boulevard in Huntington
    Beach.
    
    We first headed for Bolsa Chica. The estuary looked quite damaged at places with
    oil pumps constantly in business, but around the boardwalk birds were tame and
    plentiful and behind a dike some very nice mudflats appeared. A nice starter was
    a White-tailed kite. We got excellent views of Eared grebes, Surf scoters, 1
    Horned grebe, Marbled godwits and a Peregrine. Best bird was a Reddish egret.
    
    Next stop was the Upper Newport Bay. From atop the surrounding hills new housing
    developments were looming everywhere, but the river valley itself looked
    remarkably pristine. Plenty of shorebirds were out on the mudflats, as well as
    several Cinnamon teal and lots of Pintail, Green-winged teal and American
    wigeon. Highlight were 3 Black skimmers that even forced the godwits to move
    aside when gracefully skimming the undeep water. A big flock of thermalling
    Turkey vultures was joined by a Northern harrier and a group of swallows turned
    out to be Northern rough-winged swallows. A short walk through the bush towards
    the hidden pond yielded a few flyover Black-crowned night herons, a flock of
    Bushtits, a Say's Phoebe and a Common yellowthroat, but not the hoped for
    California gnatcatcher.
    
    By then it was time to hit the road again, by now again approaching the worst of
    rush hour. So, we slowly ploughed our way through the very busy LA highway
    system. Even with motor ways twice as broad as in Belgium, the traffic jams
    still seemed endless.
    
    Friday 9 November: Morro Bay
    
    After all yesterday's traffic jams and LA that seemed to merge with coastal
    Orange county like almost one big city, you can imagine our delight to wake up
    the next morning in beautiful and quiet seaside Morro Bay which felt a bit like
    we had finally had arrived in wild California.
    
    Here I started my habit of waking up at dawn (6am) to go for a 2-hour
    prebreakfast walk. I would join my parents for breakfast at 8am and the rest of
    the day we would bird together. We arrived in Morro Bay late in the evening, so
    you can imagine my surprise when I walked out into the street to be struck
    immediately by the imposingly beautiful Morro rock across the harbor.
    
    I first decided to give a dry river bed at the other side of the rock a shot,
    but passerine migration was clearly almost over and the birds were very
    skulking.
    
    Then it was time to tackle the rock itself. In the harbor below, my lifer Sea
    otters were sleeping wrapped in seaweeds. 1 Common murre and several Common
    loons were very obliging. I also met a very friendly local birder who was
    seawatching from that beautiful spot. Unfortunately, I had to get back soon for
    breakfast.
    
    After breakfast, I visited "the Rock" again with my parents. By now, the sun
    came piercing through the clouds and offered us breathtaking views of the
    Peregrine pair putting up quite a show above our heads. Also seen were: Brewer's
    blackbirds, Anna's hummingbirds, Bewick's wrens, White-crowned sparrows and a
    Horned grebe. California ground squirrels were living between the boulders. In
    town more and more Monarch butterflies went on the wing when the temperatures
    rose.
    
    A visit to beautiful Elfin forest yielded the only Hutton's vireo from the trip
    as well as scenic views of Morro bay with its huge flock of Black brent and some
    Caspian terns from the overlook.
    
    We drove north along Highway 1. Not too far north from Morro bay we had our
    first Humpback whale swimming some 600m from shore. We also saw a Coyote,
    another Sea otter and a Black-tailed deer and a juvenile Bald eagle.
    
    Unfortunately, the Highway was not passable south of Big Sur due to wildfire. So
    the northernmost point we visited along the coast was Piedras Blancas where big
    groups of Sea elephants were already hauled out on the beach.
    
    Afterwards we retraced our steps to head for Monterey along an inland route.
    South of Salinas we saw 1 Loggerhead shrike perched on a wire.
    
    Saturday 10 November: Monterey
    
    As the weather forecast seemed to be most promising for our first day in
    Monterey, we decided to go immediately for a whalewatching trip. Monterey Bay
    Whalewatch took us out on a 4 hour trip into the bay. The captain was Richard T.
    and we were very happy they made a special effort to point out the birds for us.
    Highlights of the trip were several close groups of Risso's dolphins and at
    least 4 different Humpback whales (one surfacing right next to the boat). 2
    Dahl's porpoises, 2 groups of Ocean sunfish and 1 Blue shark were also fun to
    watch. Sea otters were seen in the harbour, the California sea lions made an
    awful noise there too and 1 Elephant seal was seen way out at sea.
    
    The birds started out great right in the harbour with a beautiful pair of
    Harlequin duck, 1 Pacific loon and several Common loons. Inshore several
    Rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets were seen as wel as 1 Pigeon guillemot. To our
    surprise however, the most common alcid we saw in Monterey was our "European"
    Common murre. I had expected much more Pacific alcids, but maybe it was too
    early in the season, maybe the recent red tides were in for this or maybe I just
    started from a wrong presumption. The most common tubenose was the Northern
    fulmar with quite some seen further out over the canyon -all of the nice dark
    morph. All Sooty shearwater flocks had clearly left the bay, as none was seen
    during the trip. An unexpected bonus however was our lifer Buller's shearwater.
    Out at sea there was also a beautiful light morph Pomarine skua. So we were very
    happy with the trip, the light and sea conditions were excellent (maybe the sea
    was a bit too quiet to blow in shearwaters or albatrosses) and we even still got
    excellent views of Humpback whales in Monterey's worst month for seeing whales.
    
    The afternoon was short after the long trip so we explored the Monarch grove
    sanctuary in Pacific grove. The Monarchs were a special treat (many with tags),
    but we were wondering if numbers were maybe down from previous years as we heard
    some 7000 would be present now. We also wondered whether the single row of
    Eucalypse trees would provide enough shelter for the butterflies during the
    winter storms. In the surrounding park several Black-tailed deer were present as
    well as a Steller's jay, an Anna's hummingbird and several Acorn woodpeckers.
    
    We ended the day driving along Ocean boulevard from Lover's point to the
    Lighthouse seeing several Harbour seals along the way.
    
    Sunday 11 November: Monterey
    
    This morning I resumed again my habit of pre-breakfast walks. During almost
    gale-force winds I settled on a bench at Point Pinos for a seawatch. The high
    winds brought in several close Northern fulmars and Sooty shearwaters just
    beyond the kelp line, as well as a single Pomarine skua -the same from
    yesterday. I also did see several Sooty-type shearwaters with clearly no
    silvery wing linings, but having no experience with similar species I am
    hesitant to ID any as other shearwaters as I could not see any other defining
    characteristics. Loons were also much in evidence, but most in groups flying a
    bit further out at sea. There was also a heavy Surf scoter passage. Most alcids
    were again Common murres, with a few Rhinoceros and Cassin's auklets thrown in.
    
    The highlight of today was our visit to Moss Landing. Along the beach there we
    spotted the only Snowy plover of the trip, as well as several Clark's grebes.
    Inside the harbour a group of 83 (!) Sea otters really stole the show. It was
    wonderful to see these charismatic creatures up close frolicking in the
    sheltered waters of the harbour. Several otters had coloured tags. There was
    also a big group of Harbour seals, an obliging Merlin and groups of Marbled
    godwits, Long-billed curlews and Willets waiting for low tide. Several Eared
    grebes, a Horned grebe, a Common loon, several Clark's and Western grebes and
    some Bufflehead were also floating in the harbour.
    
    From Moss Landing we travelled inland to Elkhorn slough. At the parking lot we
    were greeted by a pair of White-tailed kite and a Red-shouldered hawk. We did
    not walk into the reserve, but continued by car further inland to Kirby park
    where several Cinnamon and Blue-winged teal were present, as well as Mexican
    stilts.
    
    We were hesitating what to do next, but we made the good decision to return to
    Moss Landing which by now had been transformed into a great mudflat and
    shorebird paradise by the low tide. The Sea otters on the other hand had all but
    disappeared, so we felt very privileged we had seen them so well this morning.
    The shorebirds were really plentiful and often coming very close. The soft
    afternoon light allowed for perfect viewing conditions of the Marbled godwits,
    Snowy and Great white egrets, 4 White pelicans, Least and Western sandpipers,
    Dunlin, Sanderling, Long-billed curlews, Semipalmated plovers, Willets,
    Black-bellied plovers and -presumably Long-billed- Dowitchers.
    
    We ended the day in Monterey Harbour with a Common murre, a Pied-billed grebe,
    several Common loons and a Black-crowned night heron.
    
    Monday 12 November: Monterey
    
    This morning I walked the coastline almost from Lover's point to Point Pinos in
    search for rock-loving waders. Black turnstones were plentiful and I saw my
    lifer Surfbird. Surprisingly not a single Wandering tattler was seen. The Black
    oystercatchers looked really pretty and a flock of Sanderling was around too.
    Crespi pond held 10 Black-crowned night herons, a Pied-billed grebe and a flock
    of Red-winged blackbirds.
    
    After a brief visit to Cannery row we hit the road for Big Sur. Point Lobos
    State Park was nice and provided views of several Sea otters (including a mother
    with a baby in the kelp beds), but the place was not very birdy. Some stops
    along the road were good for our lifer White-throated swifts and some small kelp
    plants in the surf looked like cute small palm trees battered by the waves.
    
    We missed the road into Garapata State Park, so our next stop was Andrew Molera
    State park. We went for a short walk seeing a Wrentit and Acorn woodpeckers.
    True highlight were 2 beautiful Lorquin's admirals sunning themselves. One
    California poppy was also still in bloom in one meadow.
    
    Julia Pfeifer Big Sur SP was another nice stop. The Redwoods looked enormous and
    their bark lit up a warm brown in the late afternoon sun. We saw our first
    larder tree here with Acorn woodpeckers flying off and on. We also saw Lesser
    goldfinches, Chestnut-backed chickadees and Ruby-crowned Kinglets.
    
    We knew we were entering Condor country right now, so every soaring Turkey
    vulture was scrutinized with more than usual attention. Unfortunately we had
    heard from a friendly birder on our whalewatching trip that the roosting spot
    behind the Big Sur Lodge had been deserted. After another roadturn suddenly a
    much bigger bird appeared amongst the circling Turkey vultures. Amazing how big
    the size difference is! A parking spot was conveniently located there and we
    soon found ourselves looking elated at not just 1, but 3 California condors.
    Awesome! 2 were juveniles (one with a wing tag on the right wing, but even with
    our spotting scope it was not clearly readable) and 1 magnificent adult. They
    covered quite some distance and whilst soaring over the next 20 minutes they
    kept flying back and forth along the beautiful coast line. It was surprising to
    see how quickly they could almost disappear and then suddenly reappear again.
    For a nice finale, all 3 came soaring directly overhead providing magnificent
    views to disappear behind a hillcrest behind us. Wow!
    
    The farthest point we went was Julia Pfeifer Burns SP. We then returned to Vista
    point where we hoped to catch the famous green flash at sunset. Alas, no green
    flash, but the sunset was breathtaking.
    
    Returning in Pacific grove some Black-tailed deer crossed the road in the middle
    of town.
    
    Tuesday 13 november: Monterey
    
    This morning I walked through the cemetery near Point Pinos (with again herd of
    Black-tailed deer). In a quiet bay along the coast a mother baby pair of Sea
    otters was feeding. It was nice to see the typical behaviour I knew so well from
    the nature documentaries I had been marvelling at for years. It was great to see
    now for myself the mother digging up clams and crabs, breaking them to pieces on
    a stone on her belly and then giving first pieces to her baby before eating
    herself. This mother was tagged with a red tag in her left flipper and a
    orange-yellow in her right flipper. Out at sea there was still a very heavy loon
    passage. A Peregrine flew over looking for some shorebirds. After an unsuccesful
    hunt it returned to the lighthouse area flying low overhead allowing for
    crippling full-view looks in my binoculars against the backdrop of a clear blue
    sky.
    
    After breakfast we first again paid a visit to the Monarch sanctuary seeing our
    first and only flock of Golden-crowned sparrows. Compared to our previous visit,
    the Monarchs had now switched to the other side of the trees, where most of the
    sun was now.
    
    Afterwards we drove into the Carmel Valley to get a flavour of inland Monterey
    county. And we would not be disappointed...
    
    On our map the Santa Lucia Preserve looked interesting, but it turned out to be
    a private reserve so we could not proceed on the Ranco San Carlos road. However,
    in the visitor center they pointed out to us that the Robinson Canyon road was
    open to public. We travelled through a small redwood stand in the canyon bottom
    to climb further over dry hills with magnificent oak trees. The upper canyon
    looked pretty attractive maybe even for a Cougar, so we decided we would return
    at sunset. Birdwise it was pretty quiet and several stops produced not much more
    than White-throated swifts and a California sister.
    
    We had lunch at the Garland Ranch SP where California towhees showed themselves.
    Due to time constraints we did not really walk further into the park, so we had
    to do it with one (blue) damselfly spec. and a Lorquin's admiral/California
    sister.
    
    Behind the Carmel valley town the road became smaller and quieter and the
    landscape very scenic. The oak savannah very much reminded us of the dehesas,
    the sparse cork oak forests in central Spain which also have their very
    distinctive avifauna.
    
    The first reward was a Bobcat sleeping under a majestic oak. Soon after we had
    stopped the Bobcat rose up to go hunting in the meadow up to 3 meters from our
    car, allowing for gorgeous looks.
    
    A bit further down the road we saw the elegant Yellow-billed magpie, sounding
    more like a Myna than a Magpie. At the same spot we also saw a Nuttall's
    woodpecker and a Merlin was perched in a tree. Wild Turkeys were foraging in a
    quiet valley. We also drove a short time on the sideroad towards China camp but
    we didn't go very far. There were plenty of the -ever noisy and conspicuous-
    Acorn woodpeckers, a Hairy woodpecker and several Northern flickers.
    
    Just before sunset we got back to Robinson canyon road to enjoy the ever
    swelling concert of crickets joined after sunset by a Great horned owl. The
    crickets really made it feel like summer in the Mediterranean. What a beautiful
    day!
    
    Wednesday 14 November: to Three Rivers (Sequoia NP)
    
    As we had to leave from Monterey this morning it was the last chance to connect
    with albatrosses so I set out for some seawatching. No albatrosses, but a
    tremendous loon passage (although not yet overhead) and the only Ancient auklet
    I saw in Monterey were really worthwhile. The Sea otters again put in a
    beautiful show and on the golf course a flock of some 5 Western bluebirds was
    present. I also got beautiful looks at the only 8 Cedar waxwings of the trip. We
    also saw 2 Cassin's vireos in an oak tree off Lighthouse avenue.
    
    Leaving from Monterey we first passed through beautiful oak forests (with a
    flyover Golden eagle at the Tejon pass) before descending in the Central valley.
    Here a lot of wintering raptors were present: Red-tailed hawks, Northern
    harriers, American kestrels. Along the road we saw 2 dead Barn owls.
    
    We had lunch on the Lake Kaweah parking lot in the beautiful Sierra Nevada
    foothills. A Golden eagle flew over and a flock of Western bluebirds and House
    finches were present. Along the lake we saw a Great white egret and a Belted
    kingfisher. Most suprising were the butterflies nectaring on the Lantanas on the
    parking lot: several species of Skipper, 2 Common buckeyes and several Painted
    ladies.
    
    After our arrival in Three rivers we took the road towards Mineral king. Along
    the first stretch we saw California quails, a Black bear on the opposite
    hillside and several Sierra newt crossing the road.
    
    Thursday 15 November: Three Rivers
    
    An early morning walk along the Kaweah river in Three rivers produced: several
    Dippers, Purple finches and American goldfinches.
    
    Today we visited the impressive sequoia groves of Sequoia en King's Canyon NP:
    Round meadow, Giant forest and Grant grove.
    
    The climb through the foothills was beautiful and yielded several California
    sisters, a Black-tailed deer and our lifer Oak titmouse right at the visitor
    center.
    
    The sequoia groves were awesome with the reddish bark of these giants nicely lit
    up by the sun. Birds were heard more often than seen. Seeing a small
    Red-breasted nuthatch high up in such a tree made you realize how tall these
    trees really are: it looked like a tiny dot. We also saw a Brown creeper, but
    the best bird in the best tree for the day was a White-headed woodpecker
    appearing on one of the top branches of the "Oregon" tree in Grant grove.
    
    On the way back home especially the foothills seemed to be alive with wildlife
    again: 2 Grey foxes quickly crossed the road and a Western screech owl seemed to
    be hunting insects from the road allowing excellent looks for several minutes
    when perched in our headlights on a roadside branch.
    
    Friday 16 November: to Palmdale
    
    A last morning walk along the Kaweah river was especially good duckwise:
    Goosanders, a female Hooded merganser and a male Wood duck were the only
    sightings of these species during the trip. Several Western bluebirds were also
    on the move.
    
    We set off south again beginning our slow return inland towards San Diego. We
    had luch in a hilly area surrounded by Ground squirrels. All along the road
    raptors were quite plentiful, especially Red-tailed hawks.
    
    When entering the Antilope valley we were struck by the beautiful landscape of
    Joshua trees. We had not expected we would see them so early on already; in fact
    we had not expected them at all outside Joshua tree NP. We stayed overnight in
    Palmdale which was a much bigger and busier desert town than expected. Before
    sunset we gave the closest Le Conte's trasher spot mentioned in our bird book a
    shot, but recent developments seemed to have changed the area. The dry river bed
    between the road and the golf course was not really accessible anymore and all
    shrubs had been removed. The spot north of the road was also not that easily
    accessible, so we abandoned our quest.
    
    Saturday 17 November: to Joshua Tree NP
    
    Before driving to Joshua tree NP we decided to explore the farming fields in the
    Antilope valley. These seemed to be pretty devoid of birds, but while driving
    east we ended up by mistake on a deadend road in the middle of some nice desert
    habitat: a Loggerhead shrike and several Sage sparrows -we liked their funny
    manners of running around tail up-, and some 10 -presumably- California quails.
    An arid field in the same area yielded tens of Horned larks and House finches.
    We also saw briefly 1 Mountain bluebird.
    
    We decided to take the route through the Lucerne valley. This happened to be a
    good choice: the scenery was beautiful and many shrubs were in bloom. We had
    lunch at a dry river bed buzzing with Variegated meadowhawks, several Painted
    ladies and a Sulphur spec.
    
    Just after our arrival in Joshua Tree NP we made a short tour at dusk enjoying
    the beautiful scenery of the north side of the park.
    
    Sunday 18 november: Joshua Tree NP
    
    An early morning walk around the Oasis of Mara yielded 2 Cactus wrens (one even
    going around with nesting material), 1 Verdin, 2 furtive Gambel's quail, several
    Phainopepla -a beautiful name for a special looking bird with a pleasant noise-,
    Northern flickers, a Yellow-rumped warbler and several Mockingbirds.
    
    A short stop at the Twentynine palms Visitor's Center yielded us our -only of
    the trip- Roadrunner darting across the parking lot never to be seen again and a
    Stink bug. A bit higher up the road we found a dead snake, probably a Red
    coachwhip.
    
    Today we headed south in the park and it was nice to see the landscape and flora
    change from the higher Mojave desert to the lower Colorado desert in the Pinto
    basin. In many places the desert was full of specialised shrubs, so not at all
    an empty desert. Birdlife on the other hand was very poor during the warmer
    hours of the day - we actually saw almost no birds at all today.
    
    It struck us sometimes how quick some people were driving in certain areas of
    the park.
    
    We first set out on the beautiful Cholla garden trail. A very pleasant surprise
    here was a Desert wood rat munching from some cactuses before disappearing into
    a hole underground that was nicely protected with bits and pieces of cactus.
    
    We then began our descent into the Pinto basin discovering a dazzling array of
    wildflowers along the way thanks to some September rains. The first treat were
    the blooming Ocotillos which attracted an Anna's hummingbird. Also around were
    Whites spec., Sulphur spec. and the beautiful Queen.
    
    Further down Sand verbenas were carpeting the desert floor in red, whilst plenty
    of other flowers were also in full bloom including the peculiar Desert five
    spot. At the same spot a snake skin hung in a shrub disappearing partly
    underground. A White-winged dove granted our car a visit. Further down the road
    we saw more Queens -even mating in midair-, a flowering Apricot mallow, Climbing
    milkweed, Indigo and a Yucca in full bloom with a Leaf-footed bug on the
    flowers. We ended our trip in a palm oasis. Returning home and during our after
    dinner drive in the park we encountered a Coyote, some 5 Jackrabbits and a few
    Desert wood rats, but overall wildlife was rather thin on the ground.
    
    Monday 19 November: to Brawley
    
    This morning an early trip to the Twentynine palms oasis was very productive.
    Excellent views were obtained of: a big groups of Gambel's quail foraging right
    in the open, lots of Phainopepla, Anna's humingbirds fighting around a flowering
    shrub, Verdin, Black-throated sparrow, Cactus wren, 1 Black-tailed gnatcatcher
    and a Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Sage sparrows.
    
    My trip was so productive that we all three decided to walk the oasis again
    after breakfast. Now more people were about and the birds were remarkably more
    shy, but as added bonus we saw 2 California trashers and a Desert cottontail.
    
    We were disappointed to find no open water in the oasis anymore. The official
    explanation would have it that changed plate tectonics make less water available
    at the surface. But we also wondered how much water in recent years would maybe
    also be drawn from the oasis to sustain the town. We actually saw almost no
    oasis with open water, so we were wondering what the desert animals who depend
    on it for water need to do then to find drinking water.
    
    We then drove again through the northern portion of the park enjoying our last
    views of the Joshua trees. Just before entering Joshua tree town a Gambel's
    quail crossed the road.
    
    We had lunch at the Big Morongo Preserve which was pretty devoid of birds at the
    moment of our visit. But a single Monarch was still happily flying around. So we
    soon went on to that other magic spot, the Salton sea. We did not know what to
    expect exactly so you can imaging that our first sight of this famed sea was a
    thrilling experience. It felt also very strange to see this inland sea popping
    up in the middle of the desert with some fertile plains around it. It
    immediately became clear to us why the sea is so famous as a birding
    destination: the birds came thick and fast. By the time we arrived in Brawley we
    had seen already big flocks of Ibises, Egrets and White pelicans.
    
    As sunset was quickly approaching we soon went out again in search for the
    wintering Sandhill cranes south of Brawley. In the fields we saw lots of Cattle
    egrets, flocks of White-faced ibises and lots of Kestrels. We found the ponds of
    the old duck club along Keystone road (in the northeast corner of Dogwood and
    Harris roads).
    
    and were really excited to see already 5 Sandhill cranes present with another 5
    coming in soon thereafter. Could we know that this was just the beginning of the
    show During the next 40 minutes and even continuing somewhat after sunset
    altogether at least 130 Sandhill cranes (including a few juveniles) would fly in
    from all directions, resounding their beautiful bugling calls and gracefully
    landing where the other already were. It was just some of the best the Salton
    sea could offer us, right at our first evening. It was a very different
    experience to watch cranes coming to roost while wearing a T-shirt some 30 miles
    north of the Mexican border compared to here in Europe when we normally watch
    cranes when temperatures are around freezing. The athmosphere was not only made
    by the cranes, also the sheer numbers of other species joining the roast made up
    for quite a spectacle: the flocks of Ibises seemed endless, and huge flocks of
    Pintail, Shoveler and Green-winged teal were present already as well as American
    avocets and Mexican stilts. From time to time a Northern harrier would stir
    things up trying to catch a meal. If you add to this the beautiful sunset
    colours against a dramatic backdrop of the mountains surrounding this wide rift
    valley, you can be sure we enjoyed our first experience of what the sea could
    offer to the fullest.
    
    Tuesday 20 november: from the Salton sea to Anza Borrego
    
    An early morning walk to Cattle call park was yet another amazing experience.
    The rodeo grounds looked a bit like a sports arena, but then surrounded by nice
    desert scrub. I wasn't alone there. This is something that struck me during the
    trip. Quite a lot of you are early risers. If I would go for a morning walk here
    in Belgium at 6 am I would be completely alone, but here I encountered during my
    trips quite some people walking, jogging, walking their dog or already golfing
    at 7am. The friendliness of people also struck us. Birding also seemed to be
    much more accepted than in Europe. Quite a lot of people knew that I was looking
    for birds when they saw me and they enquired what I had seen already or told me
    where I could see some quail. A very enjoyable experience so far from home.
    
    The birding was very good: I obtained excellent views of Gila woodpeckers
    working their way in the palm trees. I also saw a Verdin, both Black-tailed and
    Blue-gray gnatcatchers, Abert's towhees with their distinctive facial mask, a
    Cactus wren looking for nesting material, furtive Gambel's quail, White-winged
    dove among the more common Eurasian collared doves, a pair of Common
    ground-doves and in the middle of the field a Western meadow lark brought its
    clear song. Also very close-up views were obtained of a Kestrel and a Red-tailed
    hawk. Quite amazing!
    
    Before visiting the Sea itself we went to a field at the corner of Hastain and
    Pickett roads where Mountain plovers had been signalled. On our first approach
    we saw our hopes dashed as a tractor was working the field. But no, soon 1, then
    another and then much more Mountain plovers popped up from between the clumps of
    ground and we obtained excellent views. Also present were a lot of American
    pipits and Horned larks and several Killdeer. The alfalfa field opposite had
    foraging Cattle egrets close by and hundreds of Sulphurs were flying around. A
    blooming Tamarisk along a canal yielded close-up views of these Sulphurs as well
    as an exquisite Western tailed blue and several Skippers. We slowly made our way
    to the Sea passing Finney lake where we flushed a Green heron. We had no luck at
    the site of the former pig farm in Calipatria.
    
    At the Visitor Center thousands of Snow and Ross' geese were present providing
    quite a spectacle every time they flew up: it really was snowing geese then!
    
    A walk towards the shore of the sea yielded: a White-tailed kite, a Loggerhead
    shrike, Gambel's quails running along their beaten paths, a Verdin and several
    Black-tailed gnatcatchers. The view over the limpid sea surface gave us a
    somewhat unearthy feeling. Caspian terns and Brown pelicans were diving for food
    and an Avocet was feeding along the shore. Back at the visitor center the lady
    there was so friendly to put out extra grains for the birds allowing us close-up
    looks of several Abert's towhees, Gambel's quail and Common ground dove until 2
    Cooper's hawks flew in flusing everything. 1 Monarch and several Painted ladies
    were also around, but the overcast sky meant we would see no dragonflies that
    day.
    
    All too soon our Salton sea fairy tale was drawing to an end. I know trying to
    bird the sea in a bit less than a day is not doing this great place justice, but
    it was enough to get a feel for the tremendous birding potential of this site.
    
    Along the road to Obsidian butte we looked for Burrowing owls, but found none.
    We did not have enough time anymore to sort through all the gulls. The last stop
    before heading to Borrego Springs was at Wister Unit 1. Huge geese flocks were
    forgaging very close to the road here, but along the short walk through the
    reeds we didn't hear a single rail. One hide had reeds directly in front of it
    and the other one looked so exposed that it was hard to imagine it as a good
    viewing place for rails.
    
    Still exhilarated from all the birds we had seen so well we had to leave for the
    Anza-Borrego desert. On the way a big black thing crossed the road, maybe a
    Tarantula, but we unfortunately couldn't stop there.
    
    Wednesday 21 November: Anza Borrego
    
    What better than sunrise in the Borrego sink So I woke up at dawn to find
    myself in a beautiful desert plain with the surrounding mountains slowly getting
    a pinkish blush whilst the sun rose. I walked along Christmas circle to the
    entrance of the Roadrunner golf course. Best birds were for me 2 Ladder-backed
    woodpeckers. At the golf course some puddles had formed after they had watered
    the flowers and these attracted a lot of wintering passerines: 1 Lincoln's
    sparrow, Lesser goldfinches, Lark sparrows, 2 Western bluebirds, Anna's
    hummingbirds. It was also very strange to see a Great white egret flying in the
    middle of the desert as well as a Northern harrier, attracted by the water and
    the greens on the golf courses.
    
    At the Anza Borrego Visitor Center a nice mix of desert specialties was present:
    Verdin, Costa's hummingbird, California quail, 1 Black-throated sparrow. In the
    small pool they had some Desert pupfish and butterflies were also around:
    several Painted ladies and 2 Western Pygmy blues. Best bird was a Chestnut-sided
    warbler feeding along the trail.
    
    A walk at Yaqui well was not as productive as hoped for and we only found some
    wet mud, not a real well. Most striking were the good numbers of Phainopeplas in
    the mistletoe-covered trees.
    
    One of the most scenic spots we visited was the Plum canyon. We did not walk all
    the way in, as we were so entertained by the amazing variety of cactus species
    that was growing there (Teddybear Cholla, Diamond Cholla, Barrel Cactus,
    Beavertail cactus and many others), as well as Ocotillos, blooming Chuparosa and
    Agaves. Only bird seen was an Anna's hummingbird. There must be quite some
    rodents in the area as we saw a lot of little holes and droppings. It really was
    the most beautiful natural rock garden we had ever seen.
    
    We wanted to make another attempt for Le Conte's trasher. Unfortunately the site
    closest to town (near the dump) now had a clear sign saying that it was strictly
    forbidden to enter that area.
    
    So we decided then to go for a walk in the Borrego Palm Canyon. No Desert
    bighorn sheep were seen, but the view of the oasis really made one feel like
    Lawrence of Arabia.
    
    Thursday 22 November: back to San Diego
    
    Last morning, so last chance for an early walk. As soon as I got outside, I
    flushed a Coyote from behind a nearby bush. I also saw: 1 Jackrabbit, 1
    Ladder-backed woodpecker, Black-throated sparrow, 100 Western bluebirds in palms
    in the center of town (Flying U-street), 1 Mountain bluebird. At the Borrego
    springs golfcourse 3 American wigeon were present. 5 Canada geese including a
    smaller one (the reported Aleutian goose) also kept flying around in the Borrego
    sink for some time. On the way back home the last goodie I flushed was my lifer
    Brewer's sparrow. Lots of White-winged doves and Red-winged blackbirds were also
    around both days.
    
    We made a last half-hearted attempt for Le Conte's trasher along Henderson
    Canyon road, but nothing was seen. We were also a bit worried by all recent
    developments in the Borrego sink. We hope some of this vital habitat can be
    saved from development as the rate at which the town seems to be expanding
    looked worrying.
    
    To wrap up our visit to the Park we visited one last time the Visitor Center
    area where we had again nice views of a stunning male Costa's hummingbird, a
    Blacktailed gnatcatcher and 5 Western Pygmy blues.
    
    We left the park along very windy Montezuma grade. It was nice to see the
    landscape change again. We went south towards Julian. In the vicinity of Mesa
    Grande we had our best ever encounter with a Golden eagle. It was flying so
    close to the road that you could see all details very well including the so
    attractive golden nape. No way you could ever see a Golden eagle that way
    anywhere in Europe. What made it even more special is that it actually engaged
    in an aerial ballet (at times more a battle) with a Ferruginous hawk. Really
    amazing!
    
    The Mesa Grande surroundings held a lot of wintering birds, but no Lewis'
    woodpeckers. We saw: another or the same Ferrugineous Hawk, 7 Red-tailed hawks,
    1 Red-shouldered hawk, 3 Western bluebirds, 2 Lesser goldfinches, 1 Red-breasted
    sapsucker, 3 Wrentits, 2 Spotted towhees, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, Acorn
    woodpeckers and Ground squirrels.
    
    At the Santa Ysabel mission we saw a lot of sapsucker drilling holes, but no
    sapsuckers. To be honest the elms looked in a dreadful state with all their big
    branches cut off. Maybe Dutch elm disease is also reaching California 1
    immature Golden eagle flew over.
    
    In the Cuyamaca Mountains the sight of all the burnt trees from several years
    ago was really appalling.
    
    We were back in San Diego in time to catch the sunset at La Jolla. Hundreds of
    Bonaparte's gulls, 1 Loon and several Sea lions and a Common seal all gave us a
    nice farewell.
    
    For Thankgiving most restaurants were closed, but we were able to find one nice
    place that was still open where we could enjoy a Turkey dinner topped with a
    pumpkin pie.
    
    No more suitable way to end a great trip....
    
    Epilogue
    
    We are still very thrilled by all great experiences we had. We met some lovely
    friendly people. The birding was tremendous and even though some areas are very
    urbanized, once outside the cities California is still so beautiful and wild.
    And even in a city like San Diego there are plenty of good birding spots.
    
    The birding potential of this region -in all seasons I think- is tremendous.
    There is almost nothing more exhilarating for a birder than waking up in a new
    region where almost every bird you see is a lifer. We saw a great diversity (194
    species in a bit over 2 weeks without doing too much special efforts and also
    spending quite some time looking at other wildlife; 53 of these were lifers),
    but above all the quality of so many sightings was just unbelievable for an
    overseas birder. Many birds were readily approachable and the light was often so
    soft and nice that colours came out much better. Actually one of the first
    remarks my father made, when we went out birding back home again in Belgium was:
    "Ah, here we need a telescope again to see the birds". This makes the point
    pretty well: back home here it would be impossible for example to see flocks of
    waders feeding at your feet -they would have long flown already by the time you
    get out of the car. Even though we have Eared grebes here in Belgium, we never
    saw them as closely as from the Bolsa Chica boardwalk.
    
    When looking back, November was actually a very good month to bird California.
    Of course, we missed a lot of typical summer residents, but the numbers of
    wintering birds were enormous, not alone in the Salton sea area, but also
    elsewhere the concentrations of wintering raptors and passerines were striking.
    
    Your part of the world is blessed with a particularly pleasant climate. I think
    we have been very lucky having almost 2 weeks of clear blue skies, but of course
    this added to the pleasure of travelling. To us it felt like summer back home
    and the advantage of November was that one could at least visit the deserts
    without being cooked alive.
    
    If you take the weather into account it seems logical that quite some flowers
    are still blooming -for us it was an unexpected November bonus. The attracted
    butterflies and especially your hummingbirds added just that extra exotic touch.
    
    Best sightings ever and highlights are almost too many to sum them all up. It
    does a lot of great experiences a lot of unjustice to pick a few, but I will
    still do an effort to make a balanced choice. The experience of seeing wild
    California condors cruising the Big Sur skies like they did 200 years ago when
    Lewis and Clark first passed here, was a very strong moment. Even if they are
    not ABA-countable yet, it was an eagerly anticipated moment of great joy to see
    these giants soar freely again.
    
    Mammalwise the Bobcat we could quietly observe hunting for more than half an
    hour within up to 3 meters from our car in the middle of the afternoon was the
    most astonishing experience. I had read in one report that people had seen a
    Bobcat sleeping under a tree in the middle of the day. We cruised the beautiful
    oak savannah of inland Monterey county with this thought in mind, but we never
    thought it could even get a lot better than that. You can imagine the surge of
    happiness and satisfaction the moment you spot exactly that under a tree: there
    he or she was: like a lioness resting in the shades. The moment he/she stood up
    and started hunting in front of our eyes was just like living a dream.
    
    But the most unexpected present California had for us was waiting in the Pinto
    basin in Joshua Tree National Park. A very friendly park ranger mentioned to us
    they had locally experienced a very unusual rainfall in September so the desert
    was in bloom now. This was the last thing we had expected, but the wildflower
    display was simply amazing. There is such a great variety with such intense
    colors growing in the desert that you can't describe in words the beautiful
    mixture of purplish reds, sunny yellows and a lot of others.
    
    Of all places we visited 2 areas really stood out for their varied birding
    potential. I will first mention the Monterey area. This was a very pleasant spot
    to spend five days of our vacation. I can understand why so many people want to
    live there. The birding was great and varied: from excellent pelagic birding
    over the rich estuaries to the inland birding, it was a great experience.
    
    The other area that is even more varied is the wider San Diego county area. It
    is really amazing what variety you can find here: from top-class seawatching in
    La Jolla, over the excellent migrant trap of Point Loma to the foothills and
    beautiful deserts of Anza-Borrego. If you also count the Salton sea area which
    is not that far away, then I found this to be a real birding bonanza with
    tremendous possibilities in all seasons. It was great to get to know some of you
    from the very nice and active SD-birds list and I wish your friendly birding
    community may stay vibrant and active as ever.
    
    Happy birding to you all in 2008!
    
    Bruno Bergmans
    
    Belgium
    
    California 2-24 November 2007 bird list
    
    Lifer
    Number
    Species
    
    1
    Pomarine jaeger
    
    2
    Arctic jaeger
    
    3
    Sooty shearwater
    
    *
    4
    Buller's shearwater
    
    *
    5
    Black-vented shearwater
    
    6
    Fulmar
    
    7
    Common murre
    
    8
    Pigeon guillemot
    
    9
    Rhinoceros auklet
    
    10
    Cassin's auklet
    
    *
    11
    Ancient murrelet
    
    12
    Brown pelican
    
    13
    Black skimmer
    
    14
    Ring-billed gull
    
    15
    California gull
    
    *
    16
    Western gull
    
    *
    17
    Heermann's gull
    
    18
    Bonaparte's gull
    
    19
    Caspian tern
    
    20
    Royal tern
    
    21
    Forster's tern
    
    22
    White pelican
    
    23
    Snow goose
    
    *
    24
    Ross' goose
    
    25
    Canada goose
    
    26
    Aleutian cackling goose
    
    *
    27
    Black brant
    
    *
    28
    Pacific loon
    
    29
    Common loon
    
    30
    Double-crested cormorant
    
    *
    31
    Pelagic cormorant
    
    *
    32
    Brandt's cormorant
    
    33
    Wood duck
    
    34
    Mallard
    
    35
    Gadwall
    
    36
    Pintail
    
    37
    American wigeon
    
    38
    Shoveler
    
    39
    Green-winged teal
    
    40
    Cinnamon teal
    
    41
    Blue-winged teal
    
    42
    Ruddy duck
    
    43
    Lesser scaup
    
    44
    Bufflehead
    
    45
    Harlequin duck
    
    46
    Surf scoter
    
    47
    Hooded merganser
    
    48
    Common merganser
    
    49
    Pied-billed grebe
    
    50
    Red-breasted merganser
    
    51
    Eared grebe
    
    *
    52
    Clark's grebe
    
    53
    Western grebe
    
    54
    Horned grebe
    
    55
    Coot
    
    56
    Sandhill crane
    
    57
    Cattle egret
    
    58
    Great egret
    
    59
    Snowy egret
    
    60
    Great blue heron
    
    *
    61
    Reddish egret
    
    62
    Little blue heron
    
    63
    White-faced ibis
    
    64
    Black-crowned night-heron
    
    65
    Green heron
    
    66
    Black oystercatcher
    
    67
    Stilt
    
    68
    Avocet
    
    69
    Marbled godwit
    
    70
    Long-billed curlew
    
    71
    Hudsonian whimbrel
    
    72
    Greater yellowlegs
    
    73
    Willet
    
    74
    Long-billed dowitcher
    
    *
    75
    Wandering tattler
    
    *
    76
    Surfbird
    
    *
    77
    Black turnstone
    
    78
    Ruddy turnstone
    
    *
    79
    Mountain plover
    
    80
    Black-bellied plover
    
    81
    Killdeer
    
    82
    Semipalmated plover
    
    83
    Snowy plover
    
    84
    Spotted sandpiper
    
    85
    Dunlin
    
    86
    Western sandpiper
    
    87
    Least sandpiper
    
    88
    Sanderling
    
    89
    Dipper
    
    90
    Belted kingfisher
    
    91
    Great horned owl
    
    92
    Barn owl
    
    *
    93
    Western screech-owl
    
    94
    Turkey vulture
    
    *
    95
    California condor
    
    96
    Golden eagle
    
    97
    Osprey
    
    98
    Red-tailed hawk
    
    99
    Ferruginous hawk
    
    100
    Red-shouldered hawk
    
    101
    Cooper's hawk
    
    102
    Sharp-shinned hawk
    
    103
    Northern harrier
    
    104
    White-tailed kite
    
    105
    Peregrine falcon
    
    106
    Merlin
    
    107
    Kestrel
    
    *
    108
    White-throated swift
    
    109
    Barn swallow
    
    110
    Rough-winged swallow
    
    *
    111
    Allen's hummingbird
    
    *
    112
    Anna's hummingbird
    
    *
    113
    Costa's hummingbird
    
    114
    Wild turkey
    
    *
    115
    Greater roadrunner
    
    116
    California quail
    
    *
    117
    Gambel's quail
    
    118
    Band-tailed pigeon
    
    119
    Mourning dove
    
    120
    White-winged dove
    
    121
    Eurasian collared dove
    
    122
    Rock dove
    
    123
    Common ground-dove
    
    124
    Northern flicker
    
    125
    Hairy woodpecker
    
    *
    126
    White-headed woodpecker
    
    *
    127
    Acorn woodpecker
    
    *
    128
    Gila woodpecker
    
    *
    129
    Ladder-backed woodpecker
    
    *
    130
    Nuttall's woodpecker
    
    *
    131
    Red-breasted sapsucker
    
    132
    White-breasted nuthatch
    
    133
    Red-breasted nuthatch
    
    134
    Brown creeper
    
    135
    Loggerhead shrike
    
    *
    136
    Phainopepla
    
    137
    Cedar waxwing
    
    138
    Say's phoebe
    
    *
    139
    Black phoebe
    
    *
    140
    California trasher
    
    *
    141
    Cactus wren
    
    142
    House wren
    
    143
    Bewick's wren
    
    *
    144
    Yellow-billed magpie
    
    145
    Common raven
    
    146
    American crow
    
    147
    Steller's jay
    
    *
    148
    Western scrub-jay
    
    149
    Mockingbird
    
    *
    150
    Great-tailed grackle
    
    151
    Starling
    
    152
    Red-winged blackbird
    
    153
    Brewer's blackbird
    
    154
    Western meadowlark
    
    155
    Robin
    
    156
    Hermit trush
    
    157
    Mountain bluebird
    
    158
    Western bluebird
    
    *
    159
    American pipit
    
    160
    Horned lark
    
    161
    Cassin's vireo
    
    *
    162
    Hutton's vireo
    
    163
    Chestnut-sided warbler
    
    164
    Yellow-rumped warbler
    
    165
    Orange-crowned warbler
    
    166
    Townsend's warbler
    
    167
    Common yellowthroat
    
    *
    168
    Painted redstart
    
    *
    169
    Chestnut-backed chickadee
    
    *
    170
    Oak titmouse
    
    *
    171
    Bushtit
    
    *
    172
    Verdin
    
    *
    173
    Wrentit
    
    *
    174
    Black-tailed gnatcatcher
    
    175
    Blue-gray gnatcatcher
    
    176
    Ruby-crowned kinglet
    
    177
    Spotted towhee
    
    *
    178
    Abert's towhee
    
    *
    179
    California towhee
    
    180
    American goldfinch
    
    *
    181
    Lesser goldfinch
    
    182
    Purple finch
    
    183
    House finch
    
    184
    Dark-eyed junco
    
    185
    White-crowned sparrow
    
    *
    186
    Golden-crowned sparrow
    
    187
    Lark sparrow
    
    *
    188
    Sage sparrow
    
    *
    189
    Black-throated sparrow
    
    *
    190
    Brewer's sparrow
    
    191
    Song sparrow
    
    192
    Lincoln's sparrow
    
    193
    Savannah sparrow
    
    194
    House sparrow
    
    Totals:
    53
    194
    
    
  26. -back to top-
  27. JULY 29, 2007 PELAGIC TRIP LINK
    DATE: Aug 2, 2007 @ 3:55am, 11 year(s) ago
    Hi, Seabirders,
    
    Shearwater Journey's pelagic trip from Fort Bragg on Sunday, July 29,
    2007 kicked off the seabird season on the north coast. Even though the
    seas were very nice the day prior to our trip, we were not so lucky.
    Swells and wind made the day somewhat difficult, but we did make it to
    the canyon and to the Tolo Banks. Highlights of the day included:
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS, PINK-FOOTED and SOOTY SHEARWATERS; POMARINE and
    PARASITIC JAEGERS; SABINE'S GULLS; COMMON MURRE, PIGEON GUILLEMOT,
    CASSIN'S and RHINOCEROS AUKLETS. In the morning,five PURPLE MARTINS
    were in the trees at the harbor while an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was
    calling. See notes below for details about other birding in the county.
    
    We thank the participants and leaders of the July 29th trip: Scott
    Terrill, Linda Terrill, Lisa Hug, David Vanderpluym, Don Doolittle, Jon
    Dunn, and Debra Shearwater. Our next trips from Fort Bragg with spaces
    available are: August 9, 10, 26; September 5 & 16. The August 12th trip
    is SOLD OUT, and has a waiting list. The complete species list follows.
    
    PACIFIC LOON-1
    COMMON LOON-3
    CLARK'S GREBE-1
    WESTERN/CLARK'S GREBE-1
    BLACK-FOOTED ALBATROSS-23
    PINK-FOOTED SHEARWATER-20
    SOOTY SHEARWATER-120
    BROWN PELICAN-60
    BRANDT'S CORMORANT-75
    PELAGIC CORMORANT-8
    WANDERING TATTLER-2
    BLACK TURNSTONE-8
    RED-NECKED PHALAROPE-36
    POMARINE JAEGER-1
    PARASITIC JAEGER-2
    HEERMANN'S GULL-30
    CALIFORNIA GULL-50
    WESTERN GULL-225
    SABINE'S GULL-2
    ELEGANT TERN-1
    CASPIAN TERN-1
    COMMON MURRE-400
    PIGEON GUILLEMOT-10
    CASSIN'S AUKLET-6
    RHINOCEROS AUKLET-10
    OSPREY-1, offshore
    CALIFORNIA SEA LION-10
    STELLER'S SEA LION-1
    HARBOR SEAL-3
    
    BIRDING IN MENDOCINO COUNTY:
    
    While driving north to Fort Bragg, Don Doolittle and I stopped at the
    Ukiah Sewer Ponds on July 28th. It was the middle of the day, and very
    hot. Species present included: GREATER SCAUP, WESTERN, LEAST, and
    SPOTTED SANDPIPER, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, and YELLOW WARBLER singing in
    the willows. We cut across to the west on Low Gap Road (dirt) from
    Ukiah. The only bird notable in the heat, was a single male MOUNTAIN
    QUAIL which Don spotted, standing on the side of the road.
    
    On July 30th, Don and I birded our way south to Bodega Bay from Fort
    Bragg along Highway 1. It certainly must be one of the most scenic
    drives along the west coast! At the intersection of Highway 1 and
    Spring Grove Road, a solitary juvenile BAND-TAILED PIGEON was present.
    This short road also produced: Wrentit, California Quail, Olive-sided
    Flycatcher, Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, White-crowned and Song
    Sparrows, and American Goldfinch.
    
    At Navarro Road, things were very busy. We found a nice flock of birds
    within the first 100 yards that included: 2 juvenile GRAY JAYS, WESTERN
    SCRUB and STELLER'S JAYS, BUSHTITS, OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATHER, WESTERN WOOD
    PEEWEE, WILSON'S WARBLERS (6), HUTTON'S VIREO (3), CASSIN'S VIREO (1),
    CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEE, PYGMY NUTHATCH, DOWNY WOODPECKER, WRENTIT,
    PURPLE FINCH, HERMIT and SWAINSON'S THRUSHES.
    
    A short jaunt up Mountain View Road produced RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES.
    
    At Miner Hole Road, the wind had really picked up. So, finding
    passerines was not as productive. We added WINTER WRENS and
    PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER to our day list. We ran into David VanderPluym
    who told us about a SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPER on Lighthouse Road at the
    mouth of the river, near Point Arena. So, we zipped over there, and
    found the Semi-palm sandpiper there. Then, we headed south for Bodega
    Bay where we would join the boat trip the next day.
    
    Good birding,
    Debi Shearwater
    
    Debra Love Shearwater
    Shearwater Journeys
    www.shearwaterjourneys.com
    debi@...
    PO Box 190
    Hollister, CA 95024 USA
    831/637-8527
    
    "Real birds eat squid."Tony Marr
    
    
  28. -back to top-
  29. Yellow-throated Vireo; Mono Lake County Park LINK
    DATE: Jun 18, 2007 @ 9:34pm, 11 year(s) ago
    Our Big-day group finished at the County Park on the north west corner of Mono
    Lake on
    Saturday June 16th. As we exited the boardwalk onto the lawn just below (south
    of) the
    parking area, I heard a Vireo calling from the bushes that line the east side of
    the lawn area. I
    said to the group "great! we get to end the day with a Cassin's Vireo!" We
    walked closer to the
    bushes and waited for the bird to make an appearance. The bird popped up in the
    bushes
    and my "Cassin's Vireo" had a green crown and yellow throat. We saw the bird
    briefly in the
    bushes in full light and then it flew into the cottonwoods that line the
    opposite side of the
    lawn. We tracked it there until it perched and sang and we could get a scope on
    it. My notes
    at the time say:
    darkish bill with a clearly hooked tip to the upper mandible. Yellow throat,
    contrasting
    medium green head. Grayish back parts, two light wingbars, whitish underparts.
    No distinct
    contrasting white eye-rings or spectacles eliminates other vireos or Nashville
    warbler.
    Relative size of the bird (smallish in the 5-6" range) and bill-shape eliminate
    female western
    tanager and female bullock's oriole, lesser goldfinch, common yellowthroat, etc.
    Call was
    clearly of a vireo and the bird called consistently. Hooked bill, yellow throat,
    green head, and
    two wingbars led to conclusion that this was a Yellow-throated Vireo. I gave up
    my scope
    view to others after a good look at the bird and I believe at least 3 other
    members of our
    party got diagnostic views of the bird before we lost the bird in the canopy.
    Bob Power
    Oakland, CA
  30. -back to top-


-revision history-
v1.30 - 01/05/16 - Revamped cloud logic, optimized database queries, linked to eBird rarities.
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records.
v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top.
v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds.
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v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics.
v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available.
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v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations.
 v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'.
 v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.