Bill Rucci and I spent the morning birding Oceano Campground, Oso Flaco Lake and driving the beach at Oceano Dunes. Highlights below (by location):
We worked the chickadee-bushtit flocks pretty carefully, with the only rarity being a Tennessee Warbler (north end of the campground, west of the lagoon). I estimated 10 Wilson’s Warblers, 8+ Townsend’s Warblers, 6 Yellow Warblers, 2 Orange-crowned Warblers, at least 3 Warbling Vireos, and 1 Hutton’s Vireo moving with the rather diffuse flock.
We also saw 2 White-crowned Sparrows, 2 Western Bluebirds and an Osprey, along with most of the usual suspects at this location and date.
The Reddish Egret was present throughout our stay, and was working both sides of the boardwalk. Sora and Virginia rails were very vocal and visible — we saw 3 Virginia Rails and 2 Soras, and heard twice as many of each from various corners of the lake. We also had a sub-adult Peregrine Falcon (with a very full crop) make a pass over the lake. No sign of any Least Terns.
The willows between the lake and the parking area had a chickadee-bushtit flock that included 1 female Hermit Warbler (photographed), as well as 1 Warbling Vireo, 2 Hutton’s Vireos, 8+ Wilson’s Warblers (some of these were still singing), and a few each of Orange-crowned and Yellow Warblers.
We had the pleasure of meeting Herb Elliott along the path, and he reported having seen a Tennessee Warbler in one of the flocks.
3 Common Terns (photographed), 90+ Elegant Terns, 2 Caspian Terns, 2 Royal Terns were the highlights. Sadly, of more than 350 Heermann’s Gulls present, we did not see a single juvenile bird, suggesting yet another year of breeding failure. Lots of Whimbrels and Marbled Godwits on the beach, but only 2 Willets and 1 Snowy Plover seen during our somewhat cursory visit. There were lots of shearwaters streaming past offshore, but all were too distant to do much with.