I got an early start and covered the 50 miles to Santa Ynez, arriving there about 11AM. I had a bit of lunch then began my little tour of the Santa Ynez Valley. I had a loop of about 20 miles planned, with 3 stops. I had some good intel on where the desirable birds were to be found.
My first stop was along Armour Ranch Road to catch up with some Mountain Bluebirds that have arrived for the winter. Within a few minutes of arriving I saw at least 3 of them in the area hunting for insects. I hung around until one came close enough for a decent photo. Mountain Bluebird for #282!
I then continued towards the San Lorenzo Seminary hoping to find a Burrowing Owl that had been seen there recently. I arrived at the spot and sure enough it was still there. This is the first Burrowing Owl I have seen in Santa Barbara County. It was pretty far away so the resulting photo falls into Loch Ness territory. Burrowing Owl for #283!
My last stop was at the Bridlewood Winery. During a fossil-fuel powered visit here last week to do some scouting for the upcoming Christmas Bird Count I found (of all things) an Eastern Phoebe. This bird is seriously lost! Within a few minutes of arriving I had the bird in my sight. I also saw a Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker, which is quite rare for this region as well. I had to chase the Phoebe around awhile to get some passable photos. Eastern Phoebe for #284!
By now it was only 2PM. I had been very efficient in my search. I could ride around the valley some more hoping to find a Prairie Falcon or perhaps see a Bald Eagle flyby. I decided that I had ridden enough for one day and headed to the hotel hot tub.
Some photos from today:
Burrowing Owl (Really!)
After the addition of these 3 species, the year's total stands at 284
The Score: Vermont 277, Green Big Year 284
Today I rode a total of 67.1 miles