Date: 9/12/17 3:55 pm
From: Florence Sanchez <sanchezucsb11...> [sbcobirding] <sbcobirding-noreply...>
Subject: [sbcobirding] La Cumbre peak Tuesday morning
I decided to walk around La Cumbre peak this morning, hoping the recent rains might have knocked down some of the flies.  It was certainly a lot better in that regard than the last time I was there.  It was sunny with a light wind blowing  (temp. 66 degrees) when I got there about 7:45.  As the morning wore on, it got warmer, the wind died down, and the fly activity increased, so I think this respite is short-lived.
Anyway, as far as birds go, there plenty of the usual chaparral birds about, including a California Scrub Jay "convention" at the Peak.  Must have been a dozen birds together at one time, many of them young birds with gray heads.  The surprising find here was an Olive-sided Flycatcher easily seen in the dead pine next to the parking area.  There has been one here off and on during the summer but I thought it would have departed by now.  I also heard a Steller's Jay somewhere down the north side of the mountain below the road.
I started to walk to the communications station but didn't get very far before hearing a snatch of vaguely familiar song in the brush above the road.  I eventually spotted the singer in a bush and what I could see looked like a Fox Sparrow.  The bird flew away ahead of me and landed on another bush with its back to me.  In flight, the size and other characteristics also looked good for Fox Sparrow.  Seen from the rear and in profile, the head and back were dark grayish-brown, but the rump and wingtips were rusty.  This would make it a Slaty Fox Sparrow.  The bill did not look large enough to be Thick-billed, but I was some distance away from it.  At any rate, it was definitely a Fox Sparrow and I don't recall ever having one in SB County this early in the fall.
My final surprise of the day was finding a Rock Wren along the road just past the small communications station.  I haven't seen one in several years, so it was a treat for me to find this one.
At the large communications station, there was nothing of note.  A Say's Phoebe was hawking insects near the buildings--there has been one here during many of the past few winters.
Nothing in bloom but Goldenrod, California Fuchsia, and a few of the tiny pink asters.  Lots of Anna's hummingbirds present, each seeming to have staked out their own patch of Fuchsias.
Florence Sanchez

Join us on Facebook!