“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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 315 - An Unexpected Bonus

November 11.  On this day the last two years a (the) wintering Grace's Warbler has been seen at Ocean Meadows Golf Course in Goleta.  Feeling lucky (or perhaps desperate) I headed out there to see if I could finally see what has become my nemesis bird for the year.  I have spent more time looking for this one bird (and yes, it is ONE bird) than any other species and have come up empty-handed every time.

I am sad to report this streak continues as of today.  I spent more than two hours combing all the pine trees in the area and no sign of the Grace's Warbler.  Perhaps it is a little late to return this year, perhaps it was somewhere else, or perhaps it continues to mess with me.

I was headed towards home, passing through the UCSB campus (blissfully empty on this Veteran's Day) when I got an email report that Hugh Ranson had found a Chestnut-sided Warbler at Bohnett Park.  Ironically this park is about a mile from my house and here I was out in Goleta.  The Chestnut-sided Warbler is the only expected warbler species I have yet to see this year and I had essentially written it off as it is getting rather late in the season.  I pedaled hard and got to the park in about half an hour.

When I arrived at the park I found Libby Patten already there looking for the warbler. We admired the several American Goldfinches bathing in the creek.  We then moved downstream to where the creekbed went dry.  Libby was looking along the dry creekbed and said "there's a bird down there with a warbler bill and a green head."  Bingo - Chestnut-sided Warbler!  We watched it working along the creekbed through the trash for awhile.  It was not super cooperative for photos but I managed a few that definitely show what it is.  Chestnut-sided Warbler joins the list at #270!

It was really nice to see an new bird today, especially one that I did not expect to find.

Thanks Hugh and Libby!

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

A few more photos from today:

American Kestrel

Great Egret

Lark Sparrow

Lark Sparrow

Savannah Sparrow

Cackling Goose

After the addition of this 1 species, the year's total stands at 270

The Score: Vermont 265, Green Big Year 270

Today I rode a total of 28.3 miles

More later,

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