Today I did not have time for an extended birding outing, but managed to fit in a couple jaunts close to home. I was hoping to find some interesting birds reported last week during the Christmas Bird Count. Since that was nearly a week ago, it may be wishful thinking on my part to assume the birds may still be around.
This morning I headed up to Campanil Hill, hoping to find a Red-breasted Nuthatch or Brown Creeper - both of which were reported last week. These would be good birds to find as they are uncommon in coastal areas. They are more easily found in the foothills or mountains (this requires riding up big hills). If I could find them close to home, that would be a score. In short, there was no score to be had today. After pushing my bike up the 14% grade, I scoured the area for about an hour. No luck with the desired species. I was able to add California Quail to the year's list so the outing was not a complete shutout. I also got some nice looks at a Peregrine Falcon, which is always enjoyable.
This afternoon I headed downtown to the Smart & Final parking lot, where a Black-throated Gray Warbler was seen last week. This species should not be difficult to find during the spring or fall, but if I could find one close to home today then I would not need to chase it later. The attraction of this and several other parking lots in the area is the collection of Tipu trees. These trees seem to be popular with parking lot developers. It seems they tend to get infested with insects, so they are popular with Warblers too.
Let me just say that birding in the Smart & Final parking lot is not an experience likely to get anyone interested in taking up the hobby. The traffic noise, car alarms, and general urban hum really take the shine off the experience. It also makes it difficult to hear that special little "chip" from the one Black-throated Gray Warbler among the dozens, if not hundreds, of Yellow-rumped Warblers present. After an hour of looking I left without sighting the target bird, and saw no other species I had not already seen this year. So it goes.
As the year continues and the number of species not already seen dwindles there will be many more days such as this, so I had best get used to it.
As there is not much to report today I will leave you with a few raptor photos from the last couple of days.
American Kestrel, Goleta
Cooper's Hawk, Goleta
Peregrine Falcon, Campanil Hill
Red-tailed Hawk, Campanil Hill
With the addition of today's 1 species, the year's total stands at 147.