“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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 118 - Two Surprising Finds

After being away for a few days it was good to get back on the bike and go out looking for birds.

My first target today was the Olive-sided Flycatcher that has been reported by Jared Dawson up on E. Mountain Drive.  The good news for my fitness is this involved climbing about 800 feet uphill.  When I arrived in the area it took only a few minutes to hear the distinctive call of the Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Success!  After a couple of minutes I located the bird high in a Eucalyptus tree and managed a fairly lousy ID photo.

Since finding the flycatcher only took a short time I decided to head out to Goleta where a MacGillivray's Warbler had been seen over the weekend.  I arrived at the Berkeley Bike Bridge and searched for about 30 minutes.  I did not find the target warbler, but enjoyed watching a young Oak Titmouse, a couple of young Orange-crowned Warblers, and a pair of Pacific-slope Flycatchers.  The Flycatchers were very cooperative for the camera.

With still more time before I needed to head home I continued on towards Coal Oil Point, where Short-billed Dowitchers had been reported yesterday.

Along the way I stopped at Devereux Slough to see if there was anything interesting around.  I stopped at the "first pullout" viewing spot and immediately saw 6 White-faced Ibis standing near the far shore.  Another new bird for the year!  (This was very close to where the Sandhill Crane was standing last week. I am beginning to like this spot!)  There were also a good number of Caspian Terns and Bonaparte's Gulls nearby.  As I had not seen any reports of Ibis in the area yet this year I sent out a quick email to the local bird list reporting the Ibis, Terns, and Gulls.

I quickly got an email back from Wim Van Dam who suggested I look more closely at the gulls - one of those Bonaparte's may actually be a Franklin's Gull and this would be a very good find.  This sounded like a good idea so I went around where I could view the gulls from the closest distance.  Unfortunately they were still too far away to get a good enough look without a scope.  The good news was that I noticed 3 waders near the Ibis, working the shallow water with jerky motions.  Upon closer examination I saw they were Wilson's Phalarope - 3rd new bird for the day!  I managed some lousy photos - very long distance and lots of heat shimmer were working against me.

All in all a great outing with two surprising finds.  It is nice to have the Ibis and Phalarope on the list, as these were two species I did not have a specific plan for.

Black Skimmer (note band on left leg)

Cliff Swallows gathering mud to make nests

Olive-sided Flycatcher

Pacific-slope Flycatcher

White-faced Ibis (top) and Wilson's Phalarope (bottom)

Wilson's Phalarope (Trust me)

After the addition of today's 3 species, the year's total stands at 223.

Today I rode a total of 41.0 miles

More later,

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