It has been a busy couple of days for the Green Big Year.
This morning started with a brief visit to the Bird Refuge. I was thinking that the bit of rain yesterday may have convinced some unusual birds to make a stopover there. It did not. The most interesting thing I saw was a Red Fox crossing the road heading into the Clark Estate.
Next stop was the first Bird Class of the season. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you may remember Bird Class from the spring. I am happy it is starting again. We get to learn more about the local birds, go birding every week during the fall migration season, catch up with old friends and make new ones.
Today's class turned out to be productive for the year's list. Before class started one of the participants, Linda Frazier, was checking out the birds near the meeting room at the Natural History Museum. She reported that she had found a Black-and-White Warbler. This would be a really unusual (though not unheard of) find. The more common Black-throated Gray Warbler is pretty similar. Joan Lentz, our class teacher, seemed a bit skeptical but decided the class should go back to this area and have a look.
One of the first bird we saw was a Black-throated Gray Warbler. We continued on and about 10 minutes later we did in fact find a Black-and-White Warbler up in the Oak trees. Since we had just been looking at the Black-throated Gray Warbler, the difference in appearance between the two species was quite apparent. Linda managed a single photo which clearly shows the streaking on the sides and undertail pattern of a Black-and-White Warbler. A few of us got good looks at it and we were quite happy about that - none happier than Linda because we all now believed her! This unexpected addition brings the year's total to 245.
Some photos from this morning:
Not the greatest, but the best one I have of this species this year.
Black-and-white Warbler - photo by Linda Frazier
The big bird news yesterday was the discovery of an Eastern Kingbird by David Leavasheff.
Apparently in years past this bird has been more frequently found in our area. A search of ebird records shows only 1 other visit in the past 10 years.
We were scheduled for dinner guests, so when the notice of this bird came in I had 2 choices: wait until tomorrow, or drive to try and see the bird. Since this was a bird I would really like to see in Santa Barbara County and it might not stick around, I drove.
When I arrived at the park where the Kingbird had been reported I found Tom Turner already searching for it. We looked around for 15-20 minutes before Tom suddenly found it in a tree I was standing under. We were both quite happy to see it! I stuck around and kept an eye on the bird until Wim Van Dam, Peter and Lucas Gaede arrived and had good looks at it as well. It posed nicely for photos too!
After Bird Class today I headed back to Bella Vista Open Space, where the Kingbird was seen yesterday. Perhaps it stuck around and I could see it again and it could become part of the Green Big Year. On the way to the park I got an email that the bird had been seen again this morning. This was very encouraging. I pulled up at the park and saw some birders milling about. I asked about the Kingbird, yes it had been around recently. We looked around for a few minutes and once again it suddenly appeared, landing on a fencepost across the street from the park. Victory! This addition brings the year's total to 246. A two bird day!
After the addition of this 2 species, the year's total stands at 246.
Today I rode a total of 37.6 miles