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!
A few more photos from today:
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