Date: 5/30/18 2:16 pm
From: Florence Sanchez via Groups.Io <sanchezucsb11=<>
Subject: [sbcobirding] Barka Slough May 29
I walked alongside the full length of Barka Slough yesterday morning, starting at about mp 1.89 and going almost to the intersection of San Antonio Road with Highway 1, and then back again.  It took about 3 hours, starting shortly after 6 a.m. and ending about 9:05.  I estimate this is 4 miles round trip.
Though it was overcast the entire time, bird activity was good and this area never disappoints. Unfortunately the gray skies meant I had a lot of unidentified dark blobs in flight or perched against the horizon, but I don't think I missed anything significant.
The stars were the Blue Grosbeaks and Lazuli Buntings.  I had a least 6 singing males of the Grosbeaks and up to 10 of the Buntings, plus a few females.  One pair of Buntings was carrying food.  Black-headed Grosbeaks were everywhere and singing almost constantly.  I heard several Yellow-breasted Chats and Swainson's Thrushes, but none came out into view today.  As usual, there were Yellow and Wilson's warblers in the willows and Common Yellowthroats were positively abundant, as were California Quail.  I thought the gray skies would inhibit Swallow activity, but I eventually had good flocks of both Tree and Cliff Swallows, as well as 3 Rough-winged over the ranch field with the broken windmill.
I found no Eastern vagrants on this trip, but there were two surprises:  An immature male Bullock's Oriole (not quite all orange) in the large cottonwood near mp 189, and a Lawrence's Goldfinch near mp 2.79 that flew from the field across the road to perch on a dead willow snag in front of me long enough to be clearly identified.  It even gave its little "tink-o" call before flying off.
When I arrived at my parking spot, I looked back down the road and saw a scruffy coyote walking down the middle of it.  When I got out of the car, it gave me a once-over before coolly departing.
Note:  the roadside weeds have not been mowed so far this year.
Florence Sanchez

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