Bald Eagle Juv.- Morro Bay

Kaaren Perry

A juvenile Bald Eagle flew past my home in south Morro Bay this afternoon. It was being mobbed by crows at the time. New yard bird!

Kaaren Perry
Morro Bay

condor in Morro Bay?

Mary Romero

at about 1:30today I saw a huge bird in a tall pine tree on Shasta Ave just north of Olive, near Monte Young park. it flew south towards Cerritos peak and the Golf course. It was MUCH. BIGGER than a turkey vulture and had white wing linings. I did not see the head clearly. has anyone else seen this bird today? could it have been the condor spotted in MBO earlier in the week? Mary Romero

White-faced Ibis - Whale Rock Reservoir

Kaaren Perry

Maggie Smith and I decided to get up out of the fog this morning and headed inland. The highlight of the morning was a flock of 16 White-faced Ibis that flew over Whale Rock Reservoir.

Many of the expected Spring breeders were seen from along the roads between Morro Bay and Whale Rock Reservoir, including Ash-throated Flycatchers, Cassin's and Western Kingbirds, Blue and Black-headed Grosbeaks, Lazuli Buntings and Bullocks and Hooded Orioles.

Kaaren Perry
Morro Bay

<ADMIN> Please Sign Your Posts

Mike Stiles

It's once again time to plead to the group about signing your posts to slocobirding with your name and town. I'll tell you why I think it's important (and why I feel the need to rant about it).

If you report a bird in your neighborhood without a signature, you could be anywhere between Cambria and California Valley. If anyone has an interest in the bird and wants more information, we would like to know how to address our reply. Not everyone's name is included in their email address.

Think of it this way. Would you send an email to *anyone* else without your name on it?

Thanks for letting me rant. I feel much better now.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos
Owner/moderator SLOCObirding

south county birds

Kevin Zimmer

Yesterday (May 8) I birded Oso Flaco, Oceano Campground and Pismo Beach at the mouth of Pismo Creek.

The willows at Oso Flaco were alive with singing Wilson's and Yellow warblers (one Wilson's Warbler was carrying a mouthful of insects, seemingly to feed nestlings) and calling Swainson's Thrushes. I also heard a Yellow-breasted Chat and 1 Western Wood-Pewee. Found multiple Marsh Wrens constructing nests in the patches of reeds along the boardwalk. Relatively few waterfowl on the lake (Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal, Mallards, Ruddy Ducks), but there were 6 Red-necked Phalaropes feeding in the middle of the lake.

Oceano had very few migrants -- 1 Townsend's Warbler and 6 Western Tanagers were all I could find in a rather cursory inspection.

Pismo Creek mouth produced 1 alternate plumaged adult Bonaparte's Gull, 2 Royal Terns in with 12 Caspian Terns, 3 Brant and 50+ Whimbrels.

Kevin Zimmer

Montana De Oro State Park

Steve Schubert

Hello all,
This morning three large falcons swept by at high speed along the coastal bluffs at Corallina Cove. I got my binoculars on one of the falcons in the dense gray fog and had the impression it was a juv. PEREGRINE FALCON. Three of the past four weeks - once over a period of three consecutive days - my co-worker Dean Thompson and I have seen adult peregrine falcons in Montana De Oro. Single individuals or a pair of falcons in flight have been observed at the coastal bluffs, flying inland along Islay Creek drainage near Spooner's Ranchhouse and the campground, and up on the mountain slopes along the Valencia Peak trail. There is a known peregrine nesting site to the south on the coastal bluffs south of Pt. Buchon on PG&E property, but these recent frequent sightings suggest the possibility of another new nesting location somewhere in MDO State Park. I once read something years ago about peregrine falcons nesting on the seacliffs at Spooner's Cove in the early 1900's.

The last sighting I had of a tan-striped WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at a Camp KEEP bird feeder was on May 1st. I don't know if that was the same individual that overwintered since November, with intermittent sightings continuing through April.

Today, John Flaherty reported a CALIFORNIA CONDOR flying over Coon Creek. He was unaware of the condor sighting reported yesterday, nearby along the Pt. Buchon trail on the coast.

Steve Schubert
Los Osos<>
photos at:<>

Twitchell Reservoir 5-8

Thomas Slater

Saw a Bald Eagle out at Twitchell on a snag left of the mud flats.

Actually my 8 year old spied it out! It was his first. He was quite excited.
There were about 20 or so Great Egrets out there, some black specs (couldn't make them out), and some Great Blue Herons as well.

Tom - Nipomo

Tom Slater
Slater Photography

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El Chorro/Dairy Creek Monday 5/7

njmann90 <njmann90@...>

While on a leisurely walk up Dairy Creek from the Dog Park with a Bio 1b class from Cuesta College from 1000 until noon we were surrounded by bird song in spite of the hour and heat.

Going in and out of cavities: House Wren, W. Bluebird, Tree Swallows, and Nuttall's and Acorn Woodpeckers in the same tree: plus singing Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Oak Titmouse, and Chestnut-backed Chickadees. Also seen Cliff Swallow, pair of American Kestrels, Red Tail Hawk, Red-Shouldered Hawk, TV, Spotted Towhee, California Towhee, and one alternate plumaged Yellow-rumped Warbler. Nothing unusual but I think we might have a couple of converts to ornithology-or at least recreational birding.

MCAS trip to Oceano (5/5) & El Chorro (5/6)

Jessica Griffiths

May 5 at Oceano Campground:
I led a walk for MCAS around the lagoon. No crazy migrants, but lots of fun/interesting breeding observations. Highlights included a PIED-BILLED GREBE with 5 chicks, MALLARD with 7 ducklings, SONG SPARROWS & CHESTNUT-BACKED CHICKADEES feeding begging fledglings, and a DOWNY WOODPECKER feeding noisy chicks in a cavity hanging over the trail. We saw HOUSE FINCH and EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE (boo) building nests.


May 6 at El Chorro Regional Park:
Lead a make-up walk for some students & saw 31 species. At least 4 LAZULI BUNTINGS, including a female. They were all hanging out on the section of trail past the gate. 2 males were chasing each other up & down the trail. We also saw a flock of at least 10 BULLOCK'S ORIOLES, mixed males & females. We watched a WHITE-TAILED KITE perch & devour a rodent it had caught. There is a pair of AMERICAN KESTRELS there, but I could not tell if they had a nest.

Breeding behaviors: NUTTALL'S WOODPECKER feeding nestlings in a cavity; BLACK PHOEBE, PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER & LESSER GOLDFINCH all building nests; SPOTTED TOWHEE carrying food; SONG SPARROW feeding fledglings.



Johnson Ranch SLO

macro2953 <jcarroll@...>

The Johnson Ranch open space has trails that lead through rolling grassland, pockets of oak woodland, rock outcrops, and a small riparian area with a live stream. Today on a short walk I saw several Lazuli Buntings (singing males), Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, Western Kingbird, Wrock Wren, Western Bluebirds, and heard Grasshopper Sparrows. (No condors were seen...but I looked!)

Back at the parking area, which is located at South Higuera/Ontario Rd. just off 101, I saw a male and female Blue Grosbeak together in the weedy retention basin area on the west side of the road. This is likely the same male I saw there last week.

On another "note", I've heard a YB Chat singing at Pecho Willows the past several mornings around 8:00 AM, but have not had any luck seeing it.

Jay Carroll
Los Osos

CP Ornithology trip report: Santa Maragrita (5/3/12)

Jessica Griffiths

Belated trip report this week, but we did not see much out of the ordinary in our trip to Santa Margarita. By far the highlight was the MERLIN we watched hunting CLIFF SWALLOWS at the intersection of G St (Hwy 58) & Estrada Ave (also Hwy 58)--that's the spot where Hwy 58 jogs right & crosses the train tracks, on the edge of Santa Margarita Community Park.

There is a Cliff Swallow colony in a culvert under the road, and the Merlin tried again and again to catch one. It would sit a top a tall pine on the NE side of Estrada, waiting for a lone swallow to fly in or out. The students and I must have watched it hunt unsuccessfully for at least 15 or 20 minutes. It never caught a thing! The dark, streaky plumage and high failure rate made me think this was probably a juvenile.

We birded around the park & the Santa Margarita Cemetery, then headed out to Las Pilitas Rd to check out the bridge over the Salinas. We saw 32 species for the morning, no other remarkable sightings. Oh, we *did* watch an ACORN WOODPECKER apparently caching acorns in the roof of a camper trailer near the park. That's what happens when you leave your trailer parked outside for a long time next to an oak tree...


Black-chinned Sparrow/Cerro Alto 5/8

Maggie Smith

Hiked the Boy Scout trail at Cerro Alto early this morning to hopefully find a Black-chinned Sparrow.  I was rewarded by a spontaneously singing  bird just after I left the trail for the road that goes through the chaparral.  

Also had  4 Sage Sparrows, 5 Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Violet-green Swallows and White-throated Swifts. Other birds were flying up over the ridge and disappearing.  The only birds I could ID were a dozen Western Tanagers.

I heard a MacGillivray's Warbler singing toward the end of the riparian area before the trail starts to get steep.

The Boy Scout trail starts from the lower parking area.  There's a bridge over the stream and then you go through a riparian area and climb to a spring and then out into open.  The trail is steep in parts and slippery. 

Maggie Smith
Arroyo Grande

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Point Buchon California Condor

Peter Gaede

Hi All:

A CALIFORNIA CONDOR flew over the property south of Montana de Oro along the Point Buchon trail this afternoon. It spent about 10 minutes in this area along the coast before circling up and heading east, over the ridge and out of sight. I managed a distant photo with a readable wing tag, so will try and get more info on the bird soon.

It also appears to be an excellent year for GRASSHOPPER SPARROWS here. I counted 12 singing birds in the two miles between the sinkhole and Big Wash. There will undoubtably be additional birds on territory on the property south to the Diablo Canyon Power Plant boundary.

The Point Buchon trail, south of Los Osos and Montana de Oro at the end of Pecho Valley Road, is open 8-5 Thursday thru Monday.

Peter Gaede
Santa Barbara

White-tailed Kite

njmann90 <njmann90@...>

7 a.m. I had a mature White-tailed Kite flying SW over my house near the Grand Ave. entrance to Cal Poly--a first for the yard.

Re: Common Grackle

Dawn Beattie

my mistake...I meant GT, not LT...when I was
responding to Rosalie's post, I was thinking
long-tailed...should stick with writing things
out. Less likely to make mistakes. Thx for
confirming they're great-tailed. What an interesting subject for a PhD.

At 04:56 AM 5/6/2012, Michael T. Hanson wrote:
Those are Great-tailed Grackles (not Common
Grackle which is an eastern bird and
smaller). I have seen them at the Cloister
Ponds before. I did my PhD studying the Great-tailed Grackle.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dawn Beattie" <>
To: "Rosalie Valvo" <>, "Gregory Paul" <>
Sent: Saturday, May 5, 2012 7:28:26 PM
Subject: Re: [slocobirding] Common Grackle

I heard some LT Grackles in the willows by the
Cloisters pond a week or so ago and confirmed
their identities when they showed themselves
(their tails were definitely longer than the
blackbirds). That's just across the street from Spencer's.

At 07:13 PM 5/5/2012, Rosalie Valvo wrote:

I wonder then if they're at Spencer's in MB.
I've been hearing calls more like grackles than
blackbirds, but the birds I've seen have not had
the long tails I was expecting.


On May 5, 2012, at 7:00 PM, Gregory Paul
<<> > wrote:

This morning at 11AM I was on Buckley Road
heading to a social event. The creek that
crosses the road just east of Esperanza (by the
old Drake Egg Farm) had a male Common Grackle.
Having just returned from Florida where these
birds are "common" (along with Boat-tailed
Grackles), its smaller size (than BT or GT
Grackles), tail struts and golden eye are what made me stop!

Greg Smith
Los Esteros, CA

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Birding downtown SLO

Kaaren Perry

I decided to bird a new patch this morning and spend an hour along the San Luis Obispo Creek between Nipomo and Chorro roads in downtown San Luis Obispo. While nothing unexpected was seen, there were 34 species found during this time.

Some Spring visitors were: Western Kingbird, Warbling Vireo, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Swainson's Thrush, Yellow Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Western Tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak.

A rather late for inland, White-crowned Sparrow was also along the creek. I was unable to get good enough views to suggest a subspecies.

Kaaren Perry
Morro Bay

Least Tern, Yellow-headed Blackbirds and wait there's more

Maggie Smith

Early this morning there were 50 to 60 YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD on the big island at Oso Flaco Lake .  All that I saw were adult females or immature males.  At 7:27 they began to vocalize more and lifted off en masse.  A single silent LEAST TERN circled the lake and flew off toward the beach.

Just beyond the lake a  WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE hawked insects.

Two rather late WILSON'S SNIPES were flushed from the drainage ditch near the parking area.

A YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT sang its extensive repertoire, but was not seen.  It was heard near the willows on the right  side of the old road  after it curves and heads west.

Later at Avila just before the Cal Poly Pier a previously reported adult breeding plumaged HARLEQUIN DUCK was hauled up on a rock.

Maggie Smith
Arroyo Grande

Morning Migrant Movement--Little

Brad Schram

After last night's (10-11PM) strong movement, this morning dawned clear, but with obvious ocean influence extending into the Santa Maria and Arroyo Grande valleys. Deer Canyon and the surrounding area all showed more moisture in the air than the previous two mornings. So, it's clear that the post-sundown mild offshore influence stopped at some point, with on-shore air flow by the small hours of the morning.

The result of the above air movement resulted in the lightest pre- & post-dawn migratory movement I've seen since mid-April on a clear morning. Instead of drifting westward, nocturnal migrants were able to continue their northerly course without the westward nudge.

A few things drifted through, including CLIFF SWALLOWS in modest numbers and hundreds of CEDAR WAXWINGS. A few WESTERN KINGBIRDS went by, as did a few PHAINOPEPLAS, WESTERN TANAGERS, & BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS. A dozen LAZULI BUNTINGS went by in the first hour or so post-dawn. One OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER was the only one noted here this spring thus far.

Hummingbirds continue to move, it's not uncommon to see one cruising northward well above the ridges while scoping other birds.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande

Moon Watch, Heavy Movement

Brad Schram

Just did 15 mins. of moon-watching through my 'scope w/32x eyepiece: 27 birds crossed the full moon disk. Rough (but generally accepted) calculation of moon as 1/347.45 of the visible sky X 108 nocturnal migrants per hr. means approx. 37,525 birds per hr. going by my vantage point, horizon to horizon, tonight. As an order of magnitude...impressive.

Warbler and thrush shapes and flight styles predominate, but flycatcher and sparrow are also occasionally implicated with imagination. Bats show as well, of course.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande

Common Grackle - Not!

Tom Edell

Maggie Smith, Kaaren Perry and I looked for the Common Grackle reported
yesterday along Buckley Road in San Luis Obispo. In addition to checking
its previous known location by the bridge over the south fork of SLO Creek,
we checked the pond behind the Runners Warehouse off Suburban Road. Lots of
GT Grackles at both locations, but no Common Grackle seen. A flock of 8
WHITE-FACED IBIS flew north toward SLO Creek at 7 AM.

We also looked for the Cattle Egret seen at Cal Poly last week, but could
not turn up any species of egret.

Tom Edell

Cayucos, CA

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