“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

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 58 - Snipe Hunt

This morning I set out for the ex-Ocean Meadows Golf Course in Goleta, hoping once and for all to find the Grace's Warbler.  This would be my third attempt to see this bird.  It has been reported each of the last 3 days, so I felt I had a good chance of finding it.  Also reported nearby has been Wilson's Snipe, a species I would be happy to get out of the way.  For some reason this is a bird I have difficulty connecting with in Santa Barbara County.

As I arrived I met Curtis Marantz, who cheerfully gave me directions to where they had just left the Grace's Warbler (I will note that last year Curtis set the single year record for California, seeing nearly 500 species).

Before heading over to see the Warbler I took a brief spin around the little wetlands looking for the Snipe.  No luck.  On my way to the warbler I ran into local birders Nancy States and Debbie Konkel, who were also just coming from seeing the Grace's Warbler.  I was feeling optimistic.

I arrived at the spot where the Grace's Warbler was last seen, the gentleman there peering into the trees introduced himself to me, John Sterling.  That name was very familiar, as I see it all the time on rare bird reports from all over California (After returning home I see that he has already reported 299 species in California this year).  This little Warbler was attracting quite a crowd!

Well, John and I looked for that warbler for about an hour without any luck.  While disappointing, for a change it was strangely comforting not being the only person missing out on a bird.  About this time local birder Libby Patton came up.  She had been looking for the Snipe with Nancy and Debbie, and had found them - by nearly stepping on them.  She knew I was looking for them, so shared the good news that they were indeed there.

After searching a bit longer for the Grace's Warbler, I headed back to the Snipe area.  It did not take long to flush one from the edge of the water.  I was hoping for a photo, so walked around a bit more.  These birds have excellent hiding skills, and I was unable to find one without flushing them.

After leaving the Snipe I decided to stop by Coal Oil Point on the way home.  I was hoping to find a Western Sandpiper.  Strangely enough I have not caught up with this rather common species yet.  In fact, I believe this is the last common winter species I have yet to see.  After a few minutes scanning the shore I was able to locate a small group of them among the other shorebirds.  I was too lazy to climb down the bluffs and get their photo, so you'll have to settle for one I took a couple of years back.

Western Sandpiper, Goleta April 2013

And a few photos from today:

Greater White-fronted Goose, Mallard, and Killdeer

Cinnamon Teal

Snowy Egret

After the addition of today's 2 species, the year's total stands at 180. 

Today I rode 29.8 miles

More later,

No comments:

Post a Comment