“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, October 22, 2015

Day 295 - La Cumbre Peak

This morning I set out to do something I had never done before - ride my bike to the top of La Cumbre Peak, which is just a few feet shy of 4,000 feet in elevation.  This is the highest point in the front range of mountains just above Santa Barbara and can attract some good birds especially in the winter.

The primary purpose of this journey was to get some training in for my upcoming ride to Figueroa Mountain.  Second, look for birds.  There was a recent and reliable report of a Golden-crowned Kinglet up there.  This would be a great bird to see, as I have not yet come across one in Santa Barbara County.  Although a bit early for wintering montane birds there is always a possibility for something interesting to show up.

As you might imagine, this is a pretty challenging ride.  You pretty much cover all the elevation gain in about 14 miles.  I got an early start and just kept grinding away and pretty soon up I went.  I stopped at Painted Cave to visit the excellent Chumash rock art there.  It was a pleasant morning with great views all around.

When I was about 1.5 miles from the peak I crossed a little drainage that had some bird activity so I stopped to check it out.  A sparrow in a bush with a large white eye-ring caught my eye.  I managed a couple of photos before it disappeared.  I was not exactly sure what type of sparrow it was given the limited views I had.  When I got home and pulled out the field guides I determined it was a Rufous-crowned Sparrow, and later got confirmation on this.  I had seen this species back in the summer but I was happy to get a photo this time around.

There was very little bird activity at the peak, but the views more than made up for the lack of birds.

No new birds today but a feeling of accomplishment nonetheless!

Rufous-crowned Sparrow

Common Raven

Painted Cave

View of Gibraltar Dam and Reservior from La Cumbre Peak

View of Goleta from La Cumbre Peak

After today the year's total still stands at 261

The Score: Vermont 264, Green Big Year 261

Today I rode a total of 35.1 miles

More later,

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