Date: 10/14/18 10:39 pm From: John Callender <jbc...> Subject: [sbcobirding] San Miguelito Road and Jalama today
I figured I'd give Dave Compton's Pinyon Jay flock a chance to reappear, so I birded along San Miguelito Road this morning, then drove the road to Jalama, stopping at turnouts. No Pinyon Jays, but lots of interesting raptors:
* I had great views of a light-phase adult Ferruginous Hawk that hunted in the grassy valley north of the San Miguelito Road/Sudden Road intersection from early morning until I left the area around 2:30 p.m.
* Likewise, great views of an adult Prairie Falcon in the same location.
* At least one Golden Eagle that I saw from San Miguelito Road and Sudden Road, then from the dead end of San Miguelito Road at the Vandenberg gate, and later from Jalama Road. I'm assuming they were all the same bird; the photos show slight differences, but I think that might be accounted for by lighting, viewing angle, and distance.
Besides those there also were Red-tails, Kestrels, Sharp-shinned, Coopers, Northern Harriers (both sexes), and Turkey Vultures. All that open country and windy ridges with so few people seems to be very much to the liking of the birds of prey. It would be sad if the proposed wind farm changes that.
I have a few mysteries I'm looking for help with. At San Miguelito Road and Sudden Road I saw several groups of skinny waterfowl fly over; at the time I thought they were mergansers, but looking at the photos and checking occurrence dates I think Common Loon would make more sense. Also, I observed two sparrows, one of which I photographed, that I think may have been Vesper Sparrows. But those streaky sparrows are challenging for me, and I'd appreciate any feedback people have to offer.
The skinny waterfowl and ambiguous sparrows are in this list: