Date   

Cassin's Finch

Mike Stiles
 

Maggie Smith, Curtis Marantz and I drove up the horrendous road that is West Cuesta Ridge this morning looking for finches and nutcrackers and such with no luck. Curtis then walked up East Cuesta Ridge Road and called me about a CASSIN'S FINCH he found there. I went back after work and found the female Cassin's along the road. It had dark streaking underneath, a white supercilium, dark cheek patch and white sides of the throat. The bill was long and pointed with a straight culmen. It was very accommodating as it fed along the edge of the road in the short vegetation.

To reach this spot park at the top of the Cuesta Grade (on the right when traveling north) walk up the road through the gate about half a mile. Just after you pass the high tension tower that is just off the road to your right there will be a curve in the road where a trickle of water is running under the road. There are willows and poison oak and a large sycamore tree here. The bird was seen by both Curtis and me at this point, feeding along the edge of the road.

Mike Stiles
Los Osos


Arroyo Grande- Nashville warbler / clay-colored sparrows continue!

mitchpefa
 

 A NASHVILLE WARBLER showed up briefly at the bird bath this afternoon. Also, the CLAY-COLORED SPARROWS continue and were easily observed feeding on the back lawn for much of the day today.

 

Mitch Siemens
Arroyo Grande


Re: The Sweet Springs Bald Eagle and the ethics of Bird Photography

 

Hi Beedie,

Thank you for your e-mail, I truly appreciate it! As nice as it would have been to catch the eagle in action today, as you say, tomorrow is another day. I’ll try again, and again.

The main purpose of my post as well as why I didn’t give any names of photographers, etc. is to help educate people on the fact that that particular area is off limits as well as the rules regarding viewing distances for Bald Eagles, etc. I hope I have them correct.

Everyone makes mistakes and at sometime in their lives does what they aren’t supposed to do, no one is perfect and I’m not on a witch-hunt. By no means am I perfect either. We all get caught up in the moment. I know it has happened to me more than once. I do have a great deal of respect for the people who in their excitement, went perhaps beyond what was permissible by law. I have no ill will towards them at all.

I think I mentioned in one of my Flickr posts, that I grew up here in Los Osos, The whole area of Sweet Springs Nature Preserve is where I learned a great deal of my life lessons, I battled dragons with wooden swords there as a child, hunted turtles and frogs, had my first kiss and then my first heart break right there where your favorite morning spot is! I too feel the magic of that place and understand the tranquility one can find there.

When I heard rumors long ago that it was going to be sold to contractors, I was mortified! Now that it is a preserve, I am thankful for that and I have to respect the wishes of Audubon to stay out until the area is open to the public. Which I hope is soon so we can all enjoy the east part of the preserve. It has been a long time since I set foot on that part of Sweet Springs.

I hope that this post educates people and protects the Bald Eagle from possible harassment. I’d hate to see it decide not to stay. We all benefit from its presence here. Well, all of us except the Coots. The Coots have it a little bit rough I think.

Thank you again for your reply. I greatly appreciate it.

Cheers

Donald Quintana

Los Osos



On Nov 7, 2014, at 3:38 PM, Beedie beedie@... [slocobirding] <slocobirding-noreply@...> wrote:

 

I'm sorry to hear that you lost the opportunity to catch the Eagle in action today Donald.

I'll confess that I had no idea about the laws or rules about distance from an Eagle nest, roost, etc. I'm presuming that most people who are out to observe also are not aware. And then we have the kayakers and SUP'ers that paddle over to that area multiple times per day as part of the back bay frequent activities that take place here. When the tide is low I've seen people trek out along the muddy bank from the pier to Sweet Springs. 

The spot under the tree that you mention use to be, until an Audubon sign was posted, a favorite morning spot for me to quietly sit in contemplation, camera and tea in hand and observe for hours winter migration. I'm sorry that it is now unavailable but I do understand the hopeful restoration project that is underway and the hopes of keeping the hordes out.

Education of the public is key. Posting visible signs for everyone to see also helps. 

And tomorrow is another day. 
Beedie in Baywood Park



Re: The Sweet Springs Bald Eagle and the ethics of Bird Photography

Beedie <beedie@...>
 

I'm sorry to hear that you lost the opportunity to catch the Eagle in action today Donald.

I'll confess that I had no idea about the laws or rules about distance from an Eagle nest, roost, etc. I'm presuming that most people who are out to observe also are not aware. And then we have the kayakers and SUP'ers that paddle over to that area multiple times per day as part of the back bay frequent activities that take place here. When the tide is low I've seen people trek out along the muddy bank from the pier to Sweet Springs. 

The spot under the tree that you mention use to be, until an Audubon sign was posted, a favorite morning spot for me to quietly sit in contemplation, camera and tea in hand and observe for hours winter migration. I'm sorry that it is now unavailable but I do understand the hopeful restoration project that is underway and the hopes of keeping the hordes out.

Education of the public is key. Posting visible signs for everyone to see also helps. 

And tomorrow is another day. 
Beedie in Baywood Park


Re: The Sweet Springs Bald Eagle and the ethics of Bird Photography

claudia freitas <cfreitas@...>
 

I agree wholeheartedly!!!  Too much of that goes on.  Me, Me, Me!!!

--
Claudia
​ in west ATascadero at 1700'​


The Sweet Springs Bald Eagle and the ethics of Bird Photography

 

I met Don Henderson and Alice Cahill this morning out at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, all of us looking for the Bald Eagle. They had seen it off in the distance perched on the branch of a Cypress Tree to the west of the overlook. It flew away with the sounds of shotgun blast from duck hunters. It is that time of year again.

 

We waited for another 3 hours for the Bald Eagle to fly by, but it was a no show. Don and Alice left and I waited around for another hour or so. As I packed up to leave, it made its appearance and I captured some in flight shots as it flew to its perch in the Eucalyptus trees on the East side of Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. As it flew in, it harassed a flotilla of American Coots startled by its sudden appearance.

 

I waited patiently for another half hour while it sat in the tree, the coots slowly bunched together trying to quietly float away. Now please bear with me while I climb on my soapbox. While I was observing the Bald Eagle two very enthusiastic bird photographers approach from below the Bird and proceeded to scare it off its perch.

 

While I am all for getting that award winning shot, I am also sure that some rules and ethics come into play when doing so. First off, I’m positive that area of the nature preserve is off limits with no trespassing signs posted. Regardless of how inviting the downed fence is, and I do understand the temptation, willful trespassing is against the law.

 

The other thing I have an issue with is, needing to maintain a legal and safe distance form the bird in questions. I believe, and I am open to corrections, that the legal distance from a nest, roost, perched or feeding Bald Eagle is 100 yards or 999 feet or so as outlined by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. I don’t make the rules, but willful violation is once again, against the law.

 

I’ll admit I was also a bit bummed as I had waited for so long to hopefully capture an episode of the bird feeding on a coot, and I was playing by the rules. Remember, the bird is wild and needs to feed itself, disturbing behavior can deny the animal its lunch for the day. Is it worth all that just for a photo? I think not. Lets be respectful to all birds, birders and bird photographers and play by the rules. It makes for a better experience for all involved.

 

I will now step down off my soapbox.

 

Cheers!


Donald Quintana

Los Osos, CA


Nature Photographer

http://www.donaldquintana.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/donaldquintana/




Oso Flaco mystery bird - ID help

Edana Salisbury
 

I was at Oso Flaco this morning and saw a bird in the parking lot near the cloddy field (to the right if you were walking into the lane).  I have posted 2 photos in a Mystery bird folder - should be the first 2 if you pull up photostream.


The bird walked like a pipit, but the yellow upper and lower tail coverts don't match AMPIs I have seen before.  And the legs are dark. The supercilium was also very noticeable.  I was only able to get the 2 photos as it bounced around on the dirt clods and before it disappeared in the bushes at the corner of the parking lot.


I'd appreciate help with the ID.


Thanks!


Edana Salisbury

Buena Park

 


Black-throated Green Warbler at Oceano Campground

Kevin Zimmer
 

Maggie Smith just called (8:55 a.m.) to report that she had just re-found an immature female Black-throated Green Warbler at Oceano Campground, that was originally found yesterday (but not posted) by someone else.  Maggie says the bird is working the tangles and overhanging branches above the water at the north end of the lagoon.

Kevin Zimmer
(Atascadero)


Bald Eagle Catching a Coot in Baywood Park

petra schaaf
 

Following up on previous postings regarding the Bald Eagle in Baywood Park:
Jack captured the Bald Eagle catching a coot on Monday, November 3, 2014.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jack-petra-clayton/15103115933/
or
youtu.be/Ptf6sGVVe2A

Petra Clayton
Los Osos, CA


Oso Flaco Lake sounds

Tom Graves
 

I uploaded a few new recordings from Oso Flaco. They're late, from 10/26/14, but nothing unsual: no Least Bittern! New recordings for me: a fair male Virginia Rail song (you were right, Maggie), a fair tew-tew-tew from a Greater Yellowlegs, a great decrescendo of a female Gadwall (audio bombed my recording of Long-billed Dowitchers), a Cinnamon Teal and Belted Kingfisher. A few others and 2 mystreys (you can comment on the forum on xeno-canto if you can ID these, or email me directly!).

Tom Graves

Thomas G. Graves :: xeno-canto



East Cuesta Ridge Cassin's Finches

William Bouton
 

Although I knew the "trail was cold", I went to East Cuesta Ridge this morning hoping to find the Clark’s Nutcracker that had been seen and photographed two days previous. Arriving at 07:30 and finishing at 11:30, I walked from the lower end of the road that begins at the top of “The Grade” and goes 4-5 miles to the antenna fields. 

I turned around just before reaching the fork to the antennas due to a “howling” east wind blowing across the ridge.

I was unable to locate the Clark’s Nutcracker, but did have point-blank views of a male and a female CASSIN’S FINCH. The birds initially perched slightly below eye-level, in the top of a shrub growing in a habitat of mixed pine and chaparral. After less than a minute, they flushed and flew, calling, into a pine. Before they flew, I was able to see most of the important ID points, then heard the flight notes.

During the morning hike, I saw an estimated 20 VARIED THRUSHES in about 10 different encounters. The other most interesting birding involved seeing and hearing the large number of both Western Scrub and Steller’s Jays, often in close proximity to one another. 

The views were beautiful, including SLO Town, all the Morros (with the Pacific beyond)...features were visible in a sweeping vista from Guadalupe Dunes on the left, to West Cuesta Ridge on the right.

Bill



bald eagle in M.D.O.

Steve Schubert
 

Hello all,
Co-worker Paul Grafton reported to me the sighting of a BALD EAGLE in flight while he was leading a Camp KEEEP mountain hike on the Valencia Peak trail in Montana De Oro State Park this mid-afternoon. Two of the 6th graders showed me short videos and photos they took of the eagle soaring in the distance, taken with their digital cameras, and described it as being brown with a white head and white tail. The eagle was at about 700 ft. elevation above the mountain slopes. It flew away to the south.
 
Steve Schubert
Los Osos


Cerro Alto

claudia freitas <cfreitas@...>
 

Am planning to walk the road on Friday - has anyone been up there lately??
What's being seen?
Thanks

--
Claudia
​ in west Atascadero at 1700'​


Sweet Springs Bald Eagle

Rick Derevan
 


About 12.30 today the eagle left its perch, cruised the bay, and returned with a coot for lunch. it is now on the same branch, looking content and regal. 

Pictures maybe later, but it was quite far away. 

flickr.com/photos/sheltieboulevard

Rick Derevan
Atascadero



Acorn Woodpeckers, Sweet Springs

marlin harms
 

Just a note to add to the Acorn Woodpecker sightings near the coast.  I heard several at East Sweet Springs Nature Preserve in Los Osos this morning.  The two that I watched appeared to be foraging for insects on eucalyptus trees.

Earlier in the morning, a group of pelicans, cormorants and terns homing in on a school of fish came by the boardwalk platform and I noticed several Bonaparte's Gulls in the group.  That reminds me that I have seen Bonaparte's Gulls from there each of the past several days, with a high of 15 on Monday.  And yesterday I saw the Bald Eagle at a huge distance (near the sand spit) harassing/following either a tern or Bonaparte's Gull for nearly a minute.  That seemed interesting or curious to me and made me wonder what the tern or gull had done to provoke the eagle.  The eagle put in an appearance again this morning.

Marlin Harms
Morro Bay, CA


Lawrence's Goldfinch, Santa Margarita Lake

David L. Keeling
 

Hi all,

There was a flock of Lawrence's Goldfinches Tuesday at Santa Margarita Lake near the swimming pool. They moved about a lot, but repeatedly flew into a tree (right by the pool parking) with a large cluster of mistletoe. It was amazing to watch so many birds disappear as they went into the mistletoe. They were eating the leaves. No varied thrushes.

And two items of birdly amusement (at least to me).

At El Chorro park on Monday, I went back for another dose of sapsucker. I sat under a nearby tree and watched one of the pepper trees that I had seen the yellow-bellied use. In a period of maybe an hour or so, BOTH sapsuckers stopped by to have a drink from the exact same drill hole. Not in the best light, but photo-documented. I have no idea how happy they are about sharing.

At Santa Margarita Lake, I discovered a small hole with emerging termites right at the side of a dirt road. I took a seat and had some great entertainment. An oak titmouse taught me that the termites could be eaten somewhat faster than they emerged. A CA towhee confirmed. So did a white-crowned sparrow. And a ruby-crowned kinglet. None of the four seemed to recognize that this was the proverbial goose laying golden egg after golden egg. Each of the four, when it had gobbled up all termites in sight, hopped or flew away. As soon as no bird was there, the termite population would build back up and someone would return for more.

Some photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_morro_bay_keeling/15533713330/

Dave Keeling
Morro Bay


Confused Varied Thrushes, Deer Canyon AG

Brad Schram
 

The big Varied Thrush movement is apparently over, at least temporarily. Spending the same three hours (6:45-9:45) watching movements at Deer Canyon, Arroyo Grande, this morning produced only three VARIED THRUSHES. Their behavior was very different from the previous two days, lending more credence to the proposition that Monday & Tuesday's movements were birds repositioning following nocturnal migration.

The first VaTh flew in by itself from the south, like the flocks of the previous two days, but later in the morning (8:50). As it crossed the canyon's south ridge I could see it looking around before turning hard right and flying strongly due east toward Huasna Valley and the jumble of ridges and canyons in the interior. The only other Varied Thrushes, two flying together a few minutes later, approached along the north ridge from the west before suddenly turning and flying due north.

Apart from the Varied Thrushes, the typical winter morning south to north movement was subdued. Smaller numbers of waxwings, thrushes, and warblers were seen. It may be surprising to note that the three EUROPEAN STARLINGS seen this morning were the only ones over Deer Canyon in the last three days. This is normal for the species at this location.

Notable sightings this morning included an adult FERRUGINOUS HAWK flying NW, harassed briefly by a MERLIN that's been hunting the canyon.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande


Evening Thrush Movement

Brad Schram
 

I watched thrushes returning over Deer Canyon south toward the Arroyo Grande Valley this evening for about 35 minutes--4:15-4:50. During this time I saw 76 AMERICAN ROBINS moving back toward the AG Valley and Nipomo Mesa, NO Varied Thrushes. This seems to confirm the supposition that the morning Varied Thrush flights the past two days have been birds repositioning following a nocturnal migration.

If this is true I will continue seeing American Robins flying northward each clear morning this winter, returning in the evening, but will not be seeing Varied Thrushes doing the same notwithstanding their surge throughout California this fall.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande


Nipomo Birds

Ross Schaefer
 

Hello all,

I'm back in SLOCO, taking a little break from college.  I've been stuck at the house (now in Nipomo) so far, but today a pair of Red-breasted Sapsuckers decided to feed in our Live Oak, and then in our Aspen.  There have also been many Cassin's Kingbirds around here, maybe 5 or so this morning were being noisy.  I can see that Golden-crowned have also definitely rolled in here.  The area we live in is where the golf course is off of Willow Street.


I want to let all of the SLO county birders that I miss them, and I love you all very much. 

You might call me a "sappy sapsucker."


Ross Schaefer

Nipomo (now attending UCSD)



Clarks Nutcracker

Crystal
 

I don't get to Atascadero to bird often so this might not be as unusual as it seems to me to be, but I have never seen a Clarks Nutcracker on the Central Coast, only near Mammoth Lakes.  I saw a rather friendly one on East Cuesta Ridge yesterday.

Is this common?

Crystal


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