Date: 6/8/18 7:21 pm From: Florence Sanchez via Groups.Io <sanchezucsb11=<yahoo.com...> Subject: [sbcobirding] West Camino Cielo: Santa ynez Peak to Broadcast Peak
Today I hiked more of West Camino Cielo Road, this time starting from the end of the pavement shortly before Santa Ynez Peak and continuing around the flank of Broadcast Peak. I estimate the total distance hiked one way was 2.3 miles. I was concerned both about rising temperatures and wind, but though it was warmer and windier than when I was on the road last week, neither condition proved to be too bad. The one things that was worse were the flies, which were almost absent last week. Not so this week, so I was grateful for the wind that kept the flies down in the exposed places.
I had barely hiked more than 100 yards when I had a singing Black-chinned Sparrow directly above me in some unburned chaparral just past the little communications station before the road to Santa Ynez Peak. It was nice to finally get a good view of one. I had others singing along my route and estimate the day's total for this stretch at 6. I had a similar number of Lazuli Buntings along the road as well, and at least 5 Ash-throated Flycatchers.
The second surprise of the day was running across an apparent family group of Rock Wrens. This was past the road to Santa Ynez Peak at a point on WCC directly below the towers. I spotted 3 birds at first on the rocky hillside above me and soon realized there was a fourth on a large rock well above them. From the way the first three birds were constantly chirping and opening their bills, I surmised they were young birds. Is this species known to nest here?
A couple of Hundred yards beyond the Wrens, I came across a family group of Juncos (2 young birds, two adults). This was in an area where all the nearby vegetation had been burned, and I was surprised that this species would nest in such habitat. The nearest patches of unburned vegetation were a few 100 yards away. Below the road as I rounded the flank of Broadcast Peak, I had a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers in full-out attack mode on a young Scrub Jay, so apparently they had a nest very near by. Again, this was in a totally burned area.
Those were the birding highlights. Flowers still continue to be good, with the Phacelia at some places making a solid mass of purple color. The spectacular yellow Santa Ynez False Lupine near Santa Ynez Peak is still blooming, but it is finishing very fast. The difference between today and a week ago was very noticeable.
In the light of the discussion on this listserve about fire-following birds, I will plan to bird this area intensely next spring, hoping to pull in Bell's Sparrow and perhaps some other interesting species as the regrowth continues.
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