“People often ask me how it is that I seem to be so much at peace. There is a primary reason — and it is available to all who wish to have it. Here’s a simple prerequisite to attaining peace at that level. I invite you to observe the beasts, birds and fish and let them teach you. Let this be a daily routine and life, as you know it, will never be the same.”
– Eddie Bo

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 54 - Batting .333 Today

At this time my strategy is to try and hunt down the more unusual and seasonal species that are presently in the area.  With that in mind I set out today to find 3 birds seen in the past few days: Townsend's Solitaire (again), Grace's Warbler (again), and Eurasian Wigeon.

I first returned to the San Marcos Foothills Preserve in a second attempt to see the Townsend's Solitaire.  I spent about 30 minutes in the area it has been seen, with no luck finding the bird.  There was a Cooper's Hawk calling not too far away which may have had a chilling effect on the songbird activity here.

I then headed over to Goleta to try a second time to see the Grace's Warbler.  At least for this attempt I arrived during the more likely time of day to see the bird.  I spent an hour looking around the area where the bird is usually seen with no luck.  At this point I was getting a bit frustrated at my lack of success,  and I must say the incessant calling of a nearby Mockingbird was starting to get on my nerves.  At least it was turning into a gorgeous day and there were plenty of birds to look at.  (UPDATE: The Grace's Warbler was seen at this very spot about 90 minutes after I left - arggh!)

Well, if your math skills are working you can guess the outcome of the Eurasian Wigeon search.

Male Eurasian Wigeon are easy to tell apart from their American counterparts, as they have red heads, the Americans heads are green and grayish.  The difference in the females is more subtle.  The American females have grayish heads, the Eurasians more brownish.  Put the two side by side and the difference is pretty obvious.  Put a single Eurasian female way out on the water in a large group of Americans, perhaps not so obvious.

Well, luckily for me after arriving at Devereux Slough I only had to look at about a dozen Wigeon before I saw the brownish head of the female Eurasian Wigeon.  I waited around awhile hoping the bird would come closer for a better photo, but that did not happen.  I did get some distant photos that clearly show the difference in head color on this hen.

Most baseball players would be happy with a 1 for 3 day at the plate, and today I would say I am too.

A few photos from today:

Song Sparrow

Devereux Slough

Bonaparte's Gull (1st Cycle)

American Wigeon (female on left - note gray head)

 Eurasian Wigeon (Female) - note brownish head and neck

After the addition of today's 1 species, the year's total stands at 178. 

Today I rode 33 miles

More later,

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