First, the big news. After today's ride I have covered more than 4,000 miles on the bike as part of my Green Big Year - and there's still a month to go. There will be more miles but I do not expect to hit 5,000.
This morning I set off to try and find a couple of birds that were reported last week while I was away. There was a female Common Goldeneye seen in the lagoon at UCSB so I headed there first. Along the way I stopped to check out the Hooded Mergansers in Atascadero Creek. I think the male Hooded Merganser is one of the coolest ducks around.
I arrived at the lagoon and began scanning through the ducks. Of note was a male Eurasian Wigeon and I counted 23 Red-breasted Mergansers working together to drive fish into one end of the lagoon. But I could not find any female Common Goldeneye.
I worked my way around the lagoon figuring there were more ducks in the southwestern arm. I did see a Peregrine Falcon along the way but when I got to the southwestern portion of the lagoon there were very few ducks there. I decided to make another pass through the area where I began, as this was where most of the ducks were.
I arrived back at the spot and began scanning with the binoculars. Two ducks popped up to the surface, and I was very surprised to be looking at not one, but two male Common Goldeneye. One was clearly an adult, the other seemed to be moving into adult plumage. They stayed away from the shore but I managed some distant ID photos. Common Goldeneye joins the list for # 279!
Next I headed out to the old Ocean Meadows Golf Course to look for the dreaded Grace's Warbler. Along the way I stopped to check out the flock of geese at the UCSB fields, hoping for a Snow Goose. No Snow Goose yet. I spent about 45 minutes searching for the Grace's Warbler. You can guess how that turned out.
A few photos from this morning:
Common Goldeneye (males
Common Goldeneye (male)
Eurasian Wigeon (male)
Hooded Merganser (male)
After the addition of this 1 species, the year's total stands at 279
The Score: Vermont 274, Green Big Year 279
Today I rode a total of 28.0 miles