Oceano Campground and Oso Flaco updates for Oct 9

Kevin Zimmer

I checked out Oceano Campground and Oso Flaco Lake today (Oct 9).  

The most unusual thing that I saw was a Red-naped/Yellow-bellied Sapsucker glimpsed head-on in the willows on the north side of Coolidge Street where I had parked my car.  The angle I had prevented me from seeing enough detail on the head (and none of the back pattern) necessary to narrow the ID below that of Red-naped/Yellow-bellied, but the absence of discernible yellow tones on the belly suggested a Red-naped.  I did not see any white on the chin or throat, so I believe it was a male bird.  Almost as soon as I laid my binoculars on it, the sapsucker flew right at me, carried on over my head, and disappeared in the direction of the lagoon (this was about 10:20 a.m.

There were decent numbers of warblers mixed among the chickadee/bushtit flocks (which are now swelling with both Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers), but nothing rare.  Most noteworthy were at least 4 different Black-throated Gray Warblers (there seem to be lots of these moving through the county right now – we’ve had 1 or 2 visiting our backyard pond in Atascadero virtually every day this month).    I also had 4 Warbling Vireos, 30 Townsend’s Warblers, 3 Wilson’s Warblers, 6 Orange-crowned Warblers and the first “Myrtle” Yellow-rumped Warblers that I’ve seen this fall (in among 25+ “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumps).

Oso Flaco was very quiet.  Virginia Rail & Sora heard calling from the reeds and a couple of Black-crowned Night-Herons were about it, other than the usual ducks and grebes.  There was virtually no activity in the willows between the parking lot and the lake, but there was a little flock moving through the fingers of willows stretching out into the dunes – that flock included a House Wren and yet another Black-throated Gray Warbler.  I checked the creek mouth for shorebirds.  Habitat there looked promising, but the only shorebirds present were 4 Killdeer, 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Long-billed Curlews, 9 Least Sandpipers and 3 Dunlin.

Finally, I checked the creek behind the Monarch Butterfly Preserve, and saw Townsend’s, Yellow-rumped, and Orange-crowned warblers, but nothing unusual.

Kevin Zimmer

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