south county update

Kevin Zimmer

Bill Rucci and I spent the morning birding Oceano Campground, Oso Flaco Lake and driving the beach at Oceano Dunes.  Highlights below (by location):

Oceano Campground:

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.

Oso Flaco:

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.

Oceano Dunes:

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.

Kevin Zimmer

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