I had time for a brief outing this morning, so I decided to head to the Andree Clark Bird Refuge (how can I miss with a name like that?). There have been at least two species reported there recently that would be useful to add to the year's list: Sora, and Virginia Rail.
I did see a Sora in this very spot last month. The Virginia Rail is a different story. These birds are very secretive and more often heard than seen. I did see one once, near Flagstaff Az. For some reason around Santa Barbara I have a difficult time connecting with this species.
I arrived at the Bird Refuge, and there were good numbers of birds around, but the diversity of species was well below what I usually encounter here. For example, there were hundreds of birds on the water, but I could only see 3 species: American Coot, and 2 types of duck: Ruddy Duck and Northern Shoveler.
I was there for over an hour. Things picked up a bit and I ended up seeing 32 different species, but nothing that could be added to the year's list. Unfortunately I cannot count the California Condors that I could see in the Santa Barbara Zoo enclosure across the water.
On the way home I tried to find something list-worthy along the waterfront, but no luck. This is the first day out I have not added any species to the list. I knew things would slow down as the year went on, but I was hoping for a more gradual reduction in the action and later in the year as well.
But wait, there is more! During the time I was striking out at the Bird Refuge, there were 3 desirable species reported from Shoreline Park. I rode by Shoreline Park on the way to and from the Bird Refuge. No doubt these folks were equipped with spotting scopes. The good news is that I am now set up to carry my spotting scope short distances, and this park is a short distance from the house. If the weather is decent tomorrow (showers predicted) I may give it a go.
At least the birds are out there. They can run, but they cannot hide all year.
So to close out this rather uninspiring report, I leave you as a consolation prize a photo of an Orange-crowned Warbler taken at home last month.
Orange-crowned Warbler, Dec 2014
The year's total still stands at 147.