“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

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Day 134 - Rainbirds

I had plans to get up early today and chase the Yellow-breasted Chat that was reported yesterday in Goleta.  Unfortunately the forecast called for a spell of rain.  I looked at the weather radar and decided to hold off.  Well, that band of rain basically never showed up so I was kicking myself a bit for not heading out first thing.

Early in the afternoon a reliable report was posted of both Yellow-breasted Chat AND Willow Flycatchers at San Antonio Creek.  (Thanks Mark!)  These are about the only two expected spring migrants I have yet to see.  I checked the weather radar again, and wouldn't you know that band of showers had actually got itself together and was headed our way.  I figured I would get wet if I left, but it would be worth it to find these birds so I set out.

I got most of the way to the destination without getting too terribly wet and took shelter beneath an overpass to wait out the bulk of the rain.  I arrived at the trailhead just as the rain was breaking and there was blue sky overhead.  I made my way to the site where the birds were reported.  Within a few minutes I heard the song of a flycatcher, and indeed it was coming from a Willow Flycatcher (weak wing bars and very little eye ring).  The flycatcher was actually sitting in a Willow tree.  In fact I could also hear another one.  It was very nice for these birds to vocalize, as this family of flycatchers can be difficult to ID by appearance alone.  One down!

After waiting and searching the area for awhile I began to hear a clear whistling, chattering, and gurgling coming from deep in the bushes - the hallmark of a Yellow-breasted Chat.  Two birds down!  Chats have a bubbly vocal personality but often remain hidden in the bushes.  In my experience on occasion they will sing out from an exposed perch but more often stay out of sight.  I waited and did a little whistling of my own hoping that the Chat would come out but it remained hidden.

A successful and not too wet afternoon!

No photos from today, but here is one for you form last year:

Yellow-breasted Chat - San Marcos Foothill Preserve May 2014

After the addition of today's 2 species, the year's total stands at 228.

Today I rode a total of 13.3 miles

More later,

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