Monday, July 8, 2013

Coastal California- Final Day

Day three ( 6/30 ) of our coastal California adventure started bright and early. Kevin and I packed up camp and headed straight for Happy Canyon Road where Yellow-billed Magpies are said to exist. It didn’t take long at all before we found some adults and juveniles feeding in a field amongst cow pies. It had been 6 years since I last saw this bird.

Yellow-billed Magpie
We were quickly running out of target birds and it was still very early in the day. We decided that we could detour a bit out of our way for Chestnut-backed Chickadee. The first place we checked, with a recent eBird report, was a bust. There weren’t even any trees there, so I have no idea why there would be a chickadee there…

The second place we checked, Miguelito County Park, actually had some trees. A good start. We birded and eventually picked up on one Chestnut-backed Chickadee that wasn’t all that cooperative.

Chestnut-backed Chickadee
While searching for the Chickadee, we had been hearing Band-tailed Pigeons calling nearby. We started searching for them and had one fly overhead. We followed it to a tree where we found a small gathering of Band-tailed Pigeons in horrible light. I wasn’t complaining, I had been trying to photograph this bird for a while and missed it in Arizona.

Band-tailed Pigeon
As we headed back toward Santa Barbara, our last stop was Devereux Slough where Lawrence’s Goldfinches had been reported a few days back. They were said to be associating with American Goldfinches, which we found, but the Lawrence’s were not. However, a ton of Snowy Plovers were here, another lifer for Kevin. We were both pretty exhausted by this point, so we drove to Santa Barbara and hit the beach. After cooling off in the ocean, we killed some time in town and called it a night. Kevin had to fly back to Michigan in the morning and I had to start the long drive back to Hawthorne, Nevada to get back to work. This trip was a huge success with relatively few misses. Those "misses" I can pick up on my next few days off.

500 is just around the corner and is no longer an “if”. I think it is time to set a new goal. How about 550…?

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