“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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Day 335 - The Hits Keep Coming

Yesterday afternoon a very reliable report came in that there was a Gray Flycatcher at the old Ocean Meadows Golf Course.  This bird is a very uncommon visitor to our area, definitely less than 1 per year.  I have not yet seen one in Santa Barbara County.  You may recall I had been at this very spot in the morning, leaving for home about 11AM.  Hmmm....

As I had already been out that way once, and it was getting late, I decided not to race back there and hope that the bird stayed until today.

I got an early start, it was a chilly morning, barely above 40 degrees.  For those of us in Southern California, this is cold - trust me.  I arrived around 7:30 and began searching the area where the bird was seen the previous afternoon.  There was a good deal of activity in the area, but I did not see the flycatcher.  The activity died off when a Kestrel came swooping in, chasing a Yellow-rumped Warbler right by my head.

As the birds had scattered I headed off in the direction of where the Grace's Warbler can theoretically be found.  About halfway to this spot I noticed a small bird repeatedly flying off a downed and dead tree to the ground.  I got my binocs on it, and lo and behold there was the Gray Flycatcher.  These little flycatchers can be notoriously difficult to identify.  Luckily this species has a habit of bobbing its tail, slowly down and quickly up.  I spent awhile watching the bird hunt - it caught and devoured a rather large cricket.  It was quite cooperative with the camera.  Gray Flycatcher joins the list at #280!

I went off in search of the mythical Grace's Warbler (seen yesterday afternoon - really!).  Not surprisingly it was not in its "usual" spot so I wandered farther afield, checking all the pine trees.

Other birders began arriving to see the Gray Flycatcher.  I joined them, we refound the bird and everyone got good looks at it.  Then together we went looking for the Grace's Warbler.  Even assisted by 6 excellent birders the Grace's Warbler could not be found.  I am beginning to wonder if I will actually see this bird this year.

Some photos from today:

Gray Flycatcher - just swallowed a cricket.

Gray Flycatcher

Gray Flycatcher

Gray Flycatcher

American Kestrel

Western Bluebird

European Starling

After the addition of this 1 species, the year's total stands at 280

The Score: Vermont 274, Green Big Year 280

Today I rode a total of 27.5 miles

More later,

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