A few minor sightings to report for the weekend. I checked Whale Rock
Reservoir Saturday morning. The most interesting bird was a male HOODED
MERGANSER seen in the Cottontail Creek arm of the reservoir. The County's
latest winter date is April 3, so a few more days and this bird's presence
becomes locally significant. Other birds on the reservoir included 7
RING-NECKED DUCKS and both WESTERN AND CLARK'S GREBES (which nest there).
The usual group of DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS were roosting on the fish trap
in the Santa Rita Creek arm (is anyone aware of any inland nesting locations
for this species?) and three GREAT BLUE HERONS were feeding along the creek.
I suspect that the herons breed somewhere around the reservoir (anyone know?)
possibly in the eucalyptus grove on Santa Rita Creek just above Old Creek
Today Mike Stiles and I birded the Oceano Campround (I apologize for the
mistake of accidentally sending a personal message to the group yesterday)
looking for a tanager reported there on Wednesday. We found no tanagers and
no birds of note around the lagoon but did see two red-eared sliders
(turtles) sunning themselves on a wood platform in the lagoon (anyone got a
trap). At the Oceano County Park there was a BRANT and the smallish CANADA
GOOSE that has been present all winter. It seemed a little long-necked and
pale below for a minima. The bird is larger (and taller) than the Brant and
has a stubby bill that is about the same length as the Brant. There was no
noticeable white separating the black upper neck from the brownish lower
neck. Any guesses as to subspecies?