Santa Barbara County Birding

SBCOBIRDING is a discussion group devoted to sharing information about the birds of Santa Barbara County, CA. This includes the nearshore ocean waters and the Channel Islands within the county area.  Topics may include daily trip reports, rare bird sightings, early and late migration dates, status and distribution, and ID issues.  Brief announcements of upcoming meetings, hikes, and pelagic trips are also permitted.  To learn more about local birding - where to go, find bird lists, county listing stats, and breeding bird data - visit the sbcobirding website link in the Group Information section below.

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Discuss only the birds of Santa Barbara County 
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07/20/2018 07:32 AM
Ventura pelagic trip report - 15 July 2018; multiple megas!
I am finally getting a trip report out from Sunday's pelagic trip out of Ventura with Island Packers. We had some exceptional birds and photos of several storm-petrels have revealed that we had better birds than we knew.  I will not go in to exhaustive detail of every segment of the trip, but will hit the highlights.

We left Ventura on the Island Adventure and headed across the channel to Anacapa Island. Although there has not been any boobies on Anacapa yet in 2018, we had to look anyway and were stunned to find a Nazca Booby sitting on top of the arch! The bird sat there and preened in front of us for 20 minutes before we moved on. This is just the second Ventura County record (of a live bird) and one of less than 20 for California and North America. The day can't get any better than that...right? Well maybe it did. We continued along the south shore of Anacapa Island where we found an American Oystercatcher in a place where we have seen them on past trips. Another California rarity and still before 9 am. You are welcome Logan.

We then headed south of the islands to the areas we have been exploring on recent July trips. There were impressive numbers of Sooty and Pink-footed Shearwaters along the majority of the route and while riding a steep contour line to the south, the first scream of "Cook's Petrel!!" rang out for the day. Another was screamed out soon thereafter, but these first two were elusive and not seen by many. This is when the trip leader starts sweating bullets, but not to worry as we hit a steady stream of Cook's Petrels eventually getting some close passes and even small groups sitting on the water. Our ride south was littered with petrels and shearwaters. We also found a few late Scripps's Murrelets that Captain Jimmy expertly crept up on and allowed everyone on board to get great looks.

After just crossing back into Ventura County waters, we found a large flock of storm-petrels sitting on the water (100+) that we crept up on. As we approached the flock a storm-petrel passed closely across the bow that I yelled out so the people in the bow could get on it. I shot a few photos since it was close and the verdict from the bow at the time was a dark-rumped Leach's Storm-Petrel. I will come back to this bird later. The flock flushed as we approached and the birds dispersed quickly. While the flock was primarily Ashy and Black Storm-Petrels, a small bird with a big white rump was seen briefly by only a few people before it disappeared. Some captured this bird in their photos of the flock and later analysis and consultation with experts proved it to be a Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel! This is only the 14th record for the state, but most of the boat including myself did not see it. Thankfully some managed to get photos. While going through my photos of the flock, I found an apparent Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel that also eluded detection.

As we continued on we had more storm-petrels including a few Townsend's, and a steady stream of shearwaters and the occasional Cook's Petrel. Several Long-tailed Jaegers and a South Polar Skua were also highlights. We eventually turned east and headed towards Santa Barbara Island to check the status of Brown Boobies at this little visited island. After running across several more Cook's Petrels that were farther east than we have ever seen in the region, we were several miles off the island when someone on the boat shouted "booby!" While I expected to see our first Brown Booby of the day, I was shocked to see a large white booby flying straight for the boat...our second Nazca Booby of the day!! Second record for Santa Barbara County and a very happy cadre of SBCo listers. The island did not disappoint as we had 50 Brown Boobies at Sutil Rock with several pairs exhibiting courting behavior. Hard to believe this species was rare in the region until just a few years ago. Upon leaving the island we started our slog back to Ventura against the swell and although the birds dropped off late in the day, we did have stellar looks at several Long-tailed Jaegers. Other birds seen throughout the day included Northern Fulmar, Black-vented Shearwater, Leach's Storm-Petrel, Cassin's Auklet, Common Murre, Rhinoceros Auklet, Pigeon Guillemot, Sabine's Gull, Red Phalarope, and Red-necked Phalarope.

After getting home and not looking at any of my photos until Monday, I found my photos of the storm-petrel that crossed our bow and nearly had a heart attack. The camera captures what the eye can't see in an instant, and the photos revealed a stocky storm-petrel with a deeply forked tail, pale rump and back, bright carpal bars, and a contrastingly dark head. The field marks suggested this bird was likely a Markham's or a Tristram's Storm-Petrel. Upon consulting with a few experts who are familiar with these species, the responses came back overwhelmingly that the bird in question was a Tristram's Storm-Petrel! If accepted, this would be the first record of a free-flying bird in North American waters. We saw one on a 2007 July trip that was rejected by the CBRC, and two have been captured in mist nets on the Farallon Islands in recent years. I already posted a photo on Facebook and will cross post it to several lists. Our team will work up a submission to the CBRC.

This was an amazing trip and we could not do it without the unwavering support of Island Packers and their staff. Joel Barrett and his passion for birds makes these trips happen on their end and we could not do it without him. Captain Jimmy McWaters handled the boat and got us on birds like the seasoned expert he is. Thanks also go out to Leanne Kleinsmith and Sam the whale man for their support to passengers throughout the day. Our leaders/spotters did a spectacular job finding birds and getting people on them all day so special thanks to Todd McGrath, Adam Searcy, Peter Gaede, Hugh Ranson, Wes Fritz, and Bernardo Alps.

Our next scheduled trip is Oct 6, 2018 although we are discussing a chase trip out to the area where we had Cook's Petrels and storm-petrels. If we can get something scheduled I will announce it out to the listserves. Stay tuned.

Dave Pereksta
Ventura, CA




07/19/2018 08:41 PM
THANKS AGAIN!
Does this scare anyone?  There were birds there that we didn’t see, but the cameras DID!  I’ll bet.....
Joan


Begin forwarded message:

From: David Pereksta <pereksta@...>
Date: July 18, 2018 at 2:18:05 PM PDT
To: Joan Lentz <joanlentz@...>, Joel Barrett <joelbsalty@...>
Subject: Re: THANKS AGAIN!
Reply-To: David Pereksta <pereksta@...>

Thanks Joan. Glad you had a great time and got a few lifers in your county! We try hard to make these trips a success so its nice when the birds cooperate with our strategy for the day.

Be prepared for some storm-petrel drama...we have had a few birds appear in photos that may make us all cry.

Stay tuned...

Dave



From: Joan Lentz <joanlentz@...>
To: Dave Pereksta <pereksta@...>; Joel Barrett <joelbsalty@...>
Sent: Monday, July 16, 2018 6:38 AM
Subject: THANKS AGAIN!

Hi you guys:  Awesome trip yesterday.  And I know we have to take what we get on these pelagics, but you served it up HOT yesterday!  Two life birds and two county birds, are you kidding?  Puts me at 450 in SB county, not bad, huh?  Thanks for your tireless leadership!  Loved seeing so MANY BIRDS ON THE WATER!  What a treat!
    Joan L.




07/19/2018 10:57 AM
Reddish Egret here now
Feeding now across from surf shop

Kay Regester Ventura

New mail address:  kayregester@...

On Wednesday, July 18, 2018, Mark Holmgren <maholmgren33@...> wrote:

Hosting an out-of-town guest today.  We had some interesting birds.  In addition to seeing more Purple Martins at 3 sites along Alisal Road than I’ve ever seen in Santa Barbara County (at least 19 individuals today), our other highs were on publicly accessible parts of Vandenberg AFB.  (The Purple Martin monitoring team goes out each week; today they had many more Martins than 19!)

 

At the Triangle Pond (at the junction of San Antonio Road West X Lompoc-Casmalia Rd (34.78421 -120.54072)) Bill Kaempfer found a one-year old male Summer Tanager (see photo here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47286208)

 

At the Santa Ynez River Estuary from 150m away we saw at least 14 adult Red Knots, and an adult and juvenile Royal Tern. I’ve never seen more than a few Knots at a time in SB Co.  See photos here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47285728

 

Other shorebirds at the SYRE were Black-necked Stilt, BbPlover, Snowy Plover, 27 Whimbrel, 61 dowitchers (of which 22 were Short-billed by calls), 18 Wilson’s Phalarope, Greater Yellowlegs, Willets, and 70 Least or Western Sandpipers.

 

Mark Holmgren

San Marcos Pass



07/19/2018 10:54 AM
Re: Martins, Red Knots, Royal Terns
Following up on Mark’s Purple Martin observations - the Purple Martins appear to be having a good breeding season.  In and around Nojoqui Falls Park, and Alisal Guest Ranch, we believe there are still 9 or 10 active nests.  Young are appearing at cavity openings, and some have already fledged and can be seen and heard flying nearby.

The next week or two would be a good time to go observe the Purple Martins before they begin their journey south.  Family groups should be active in the area.

A couple photos from yesterday can be found in the following checklist:

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47280870

Glenn Kincaid
Santa Barbara

07/18/2018 09:33 PM
Martins, Red Knots, Royal Terns

Hosting an out-of-town guest today.  We had some interesting birds.  In addition to seeing more Purple Martins at 3 sites along Alisal Road than I’ve ever seen in Santa Barbara County (at least 19 individuals today), our other highs were on publicly accessible parts of Vandenberg AFB.  (The Purple Martin monitoring team goes out each week; today they had many more Martins than 19!)

 

At the Triangle Pond (at the junction of San Antonio Road West X Lompoc-Casmalia Rd (34.78421 -120.54072)) Bill Kaempfer found a one-year old male Summer Tanager (see photo here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47286208)

 

At the Santa Ynez River Estuary from 150m away we saw at least 14 adult Red Knots, and an adult and juvenile Royal Tern. I’ve never seen more than a few Knots at a time in SB Co.  See photos here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47285728

 

Other shorebirds at the SYRE were Black-necked Stilt, BbPlover, Snowy Plover, 27 Whimbrel, 61 dowitchers (of which 22 were Short-billed by calls), 18 Wilson’s Phalarope, Greater Yellowlegs, Willets, and 70 Least or Western Sandpipers.

 

Mark Holmgren

San Marcos Pass



07/18/2018 08:32 PM
Re: Male Summer Tanager at Scorpion on SCI
Sorry if it was cryptic, wasn't intended to be. For what it's worth I saw the bird briefly yesterday evening.

07/18/2018 06:59 PM
Re: Male Summer Tanager at Scorpion on SCI
Dear friend,
Scorpion, as far as I know, refers to one of the areas and ferry stops on Santa Cruz Island.


07/18/2018 02:41 PM
Re: Male Summer Tanager at Scorpion on SCI

"Scorpion on SCI" means "Scorpion Anchorage/Ranch on Santa Cruz Island".
I agree that that was a bit cryptic.
--
Wim van Dam 
Solvang, CA
---
SBCO #377+3: Least Bittern

07/18/2018 02:37 PM
Re: Male Summer Tanager at Scorpion on SCI
Pardon the ignorance, but is Scorpion" a code word for something?

Rob Hofberg

07/18/2018 09:21 AM
West Campus Bluffs
There is lots of kelp wrack on the beach at the West Campus Bluffs. There were lots of peeps and some other shorebirds there this morning. Three Short-Billed Dowitchers at the point.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47275206

-Tom Turner


07/18/2018 07:54 AM
Re: Reddish Egret, Little Blue Heron, Fulvous Whistling Duck
Sorry for typo (thanks to over efficient spellcheck).
I meant:
I first observed the Reddish Egret on July 13 & 15.

Sent from my iPhone because I’m out birding.

07/18/2018 07:50 AM
Reddish Egret, Little Blue Heron, Fulvous Whistling Duck
I appreciate the updates on these birds.

I last saw the Fulvous Whistling Duck at the Goleta Sanitary District on July 5.

I on served the Reddish Egret July 13 and 15 at Goleta Slough (a first for me). The bird displayed more mantling than I'd seen with the Little Blue Heron.

I haven’t seen the Little Blue Heron since July 5, so it’s good to know he’s still around.

I’m hoping to see the Tri-colored Blackbird at LLC on Thursday.

Thanks again for updates.

Betsy Mooney
Santa Barbara/Goleta

07/17/2018 08:13 PM
Lake Los Carneros and North Campus Open Space

Lake Los Carneros has a couple cool birds.  Yesterday, out of town birder Bill Kaempfer spotted 2 very young Green Herons that were just starting to move around in the tules at the SW corner of the lake.  Also in the SW corner tules a male Tricolored Blackbird is still present today.  This bird was found yesterday by Adrian O’Loghlen. 3 adult White-tailed Kites were present. The kingbird show was fun. We saw 1 Western, 5 Cassin's and 2 or 3 we could not study and identify.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47267341

 

At the North Campus Open Space (I do hope they change the name to Ocean Meadows Open Space) were only 8 Least Sandpipers and 1 Western Sandpiper at the ponds in the NW corner of the property.  We did not bird the eastern arm.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47267548

 

As others have reported, the Reddish Egret is at the Goleta Slough mouth.  But we failed to see the Little Blue Heron.  I drove around to Atascadero Creek at Ward Drive and it was not there either.


Mark Holmgren
Santa Barbara

07/17/2018 05:50 PM
Goleta Beaches today
This morning with a favorable low tide, I walked the UCSB Beaches starting from the wood steps on the east-facing side and continuing around campus Point to the UCSB Lagoon.  I then walked back along the west and north sides of the Lagoon.  After that, I went to Goleta Beach to check on the herons.

There was not a lot of shorebird activity on the UCSB beaches but it was different than the last time I went.  On the East-facing Beach I had only 1 Whimbrel and 1 Long-billed Curlew.  On Campus Point, I found 1 Black Turnstone, though walkers may have scared of others.  A flock of about 20 sandpipers was flying back and forth between the beaches on each side of Campus Point.  Each time I scanned the flock, they all came up Least, about 20 of them.  I could not pull out a Western Sandpiper from this group.  With them were 3 Semi-palmated Plovers.

The UCSB Lagoon was as quiet as my last visit 2 weeks ago.  The only shorebirds there were 2 Kildeer and 2 Black-necked Stilts.  Still no Yellowlegs (the north end is usually good for them).  Double-crested Cormorants apparently nested successfully somewhere in the area as I observed a young one on one of the roosts at water's edge being fed by an adult.

At Goleta Beach, I discovered the sand berm had been breached and water was flowing freely into the ocean.  This should expose some nice mud for shorebirds over the next few days.  I found both the Little Blue Heron and the Reddish Egret together in the creek channel just before it joins the Slough channel, feeding near a point where there are exposed wooden pilings.  The Reddish Egret was canopy feeding very nicely--fun to watch.

Florence Sanchez




07/17/2018 05:40 PM
Reddish Egret: Goleta Slough
A very high tide made walking anywhere on the beach near the slough dangerous; as I arrived a man and dog were being rescued by firefighters after sinking in sand.  This was around noon.  After a while a Reddish Egret appeared in the distance and soon made his way to center stage.  This is a very active young bird who is having wonderful success in catching small fish and crabs from the incoming water.  He runs and flies and sometimes appears to be dancing.  During the time I watched I did not see the Little Blue Heron.  I wouldn't be surprised if the Reddish Egret stays around for a while with such a good food source readily available to him.  I shot a lot of video and some stills are included in my eBird posting: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47264759

Dika Golovatchoff
​, Santa Barbara​


07/17/2018 08:50 AM
Male Summer Tanager at Scorpion on SCI
A co-worker of mine got a photo of a male summer tanager at the top of the lower loop of the campground at Scorpion yesterday evening. I missed it by about twenty minutes and spent the thirty minutes before dusk trying to re-find it unsuccessfully. I'm here through Thursday so will be attempting to find it.  

--
Aaron Kreisberg
805-679-1578


07/17/2018 05:07 AM
Jalama Beach
All:

Peter Schneekloth and I decided to take advantage of the extreme low tide at Jalama Beach yesterday morning.  It was a perfect morning at Jalama Beach.  No fog and very little wind.  Highlights were a Brant, 4 Red Breasted Mergansers, a Ring Billed Gull and a Long Billed Curlew.

https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47248587

John Deacon
iseekbirds@...

07/16/2018 05:51 PM
Harbor area Monday Morning
With a minus low tide at 7 a.m. this morning, I decided a return visit to the harbor and sandspit might be in order.  I found a little more shorebird activity than when I did this two weeks ago:  1 Black-bellied Plover (basic plumage), 3 Willets, 1 Long-billed curlew, 1 Whimbrel, and 5 Black Turnstones along the outer breakwater.  There was a large gathering of Heerman's Gulls on the Sandspit, all three plumages and grading between represented.  With them were 3 Black Skimmers.  The usual congregation of HERon species was on the bait barge:  Great Glue, Black-crowned Night HEron, Great Egret, and Snowy Egret.

There were no Ospreys this morning, but there was a nice Red-throated Loon inside the breakwater, still in alternate plumage.  handsome bird!

Florence Sanchez

(PS--ditto everything Hugh Ranson said about the pelagic trip yesterday--the birding was just great.  The highlight was the SB Co. Nazca Booby directly overhead at the stern of the boat, so close you felt you could jump up and touch it.   Cook's Petrels sitting on the water like Phalaropes wasn't too shabby either.)

07/16/2018 04:56 PM
Possible Tricolored Blackbird @ LLC
There was what looked like a Tricolored Blackbird at LLC this morning (Mon). It was in a dead shrub in the reeds near the water's edge at the west end of the dam.
Photos at;
https://flic.kr/p/M5owso

Adrian O'Loghlen
Goleta

07/16/2018 04:33 PM
Brief pelagic report
There will be a more detailed e-bird report on yesterday's 12 hour pelagic
birding trip, but I thought I'd give a few of the highlights. Not only did we
see some great birds, but there were birds in view almost the entire time,
sometimes in their thousands. Often on these trips, we can go for long
stretches with seeing very little. It was gratifying to see large numbers of
Sooty Shearwaters, a species that has declined in our area (and everywhere
else?). A few of the highlights, apart from spending time with terrific people:
Two Nazca Boobies, a species that breeds in the Galapagos--one was in Ventura
County, the other, near Santa Barbara Island, was only the second ever seen in
Santa Barbara County--a lifer for most; many, many Cook's Petrels (close to
100?); Long-tailed Jaegers; South Polar Skua; Sabine's Gull; Scripps'
Murrelets; Storm-petrels in a variety of flavors (Black, Ashy, Leach's
(Chapman's)-- and a couple of people saw Townsend's and Fork-tailed); Brown
Boobies on Sutil; Northern Fulmars; Pink-footed, Sooty, and Black-vented
Shearwaters; American Oystercatcher on Anacapa Island; and to round things off,
Minke, Blue, and Fin Whales. Phew!

A few photos here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/159344319@N03/with/42318706375/

Hugh Ranson
SB