“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, September 8, 2015

Day 251 - Chasing The Uncountable

Yesterday afternoon an email post came in of an American Bittern at Lake Los Carneros.  This would be a pretty rare occurrence.  This species used to live in the area but nowadays we just get the odd migrant now and again.  There was no description of the bird and I did not recognize the name of person submitting the report so I was a bit skeptical.  We happened to be driving nearby so I stopped and took a look anyway.  I found a Green Heron in the area where the Bittern was seen.  This was sort of what I was expecting to happen.

I sent the submitter an email asking about the sighting.  Instead of the expected reply (I didn't know what I was looking at), I got a response that said "it was a bird found in a yard in Ventura County and I released it there".  Well I sure was not expecting that!

Unfortunately, since it was transported here, the bird is not countable by the American Birding Association (ABA) Recording Rules.  Here is the pertinent section:
B. “Wild” means that the bird’s occurrence at the time and place of observation is not because it, or its recent ancestors, has ever been transported or otherwise assisted by man for reasons other than for rehabilitation purposes.
This morning I decided to go looking for it, even though it would not count towards my year total (or Santa Barbara County list for that matter).  There was nothing else on the bird radar and I thought it would be a fun bird to see - I have only seen this species in Florida.  Perhaps something else interesting might turn up.

So I arrived at Lake Los Carneros early and starting looking through the reeds at the edge of the lake for the Bittern.  They are good at hiding and can be hard to find.  I also had no idea if the bird would have stuck around or not.  I looked around the lake for almost two hours and did not locate the Bittern.  There was a good variety of other birds to be seen.  Three Eared Grebes were the newest migrant arrivals that I saw.

I did make one interesting discovery.  As I was nearing the end of my search at the lake I saw a bird flying that had rufous colored wings.  I thought that was unusual, so I took a closer look and it was a Common Ground-dove.  A totally unexpected sighting!  I got some good looks but the bird took off before I could get the camera on it.  This is a bird I have already seen this year, but today was only the second sighting I have ever had in Santa Barbara County so that was kinda neat.

A few photos from today:

Greater Yellowlegs

Eared Grebes

Great Blue Heron - Catfish For Breakfast

American Coot

California Thrasher

After today the year's total still stands at 243. 

Today I rode a total of 24.8 miles

More later,

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