Date: 10/17/18 10:46 pm From: Noah Arthur via Groups.Io <semirelicta=<yahoo.com...> Subject: [sbcobirding] Jalama Beach: Nelson's Sparrow, 'celata' OCWA
I fulfilled a years-long dream by exploring Jalama Beach Park out on the end of Pt. Conception this afternoon. I've always thought Jalama looked like a really interesting (Pt. Reyes-like) potential vagrant trap habitat, and it lived up to all my hopes today. Most of the migrant action was in a meadow of rabbitbrush along the creek just east of where the creek dead-ends into the beach sand. The best bird was a glowing orange-gold NELSON'S SPARROW that made several appearances around the east end of the meadow, mostly along the shrubby border between the meadow and the willow thicket. Warblers foraging at knee-height in the blooming/seeding rabbitbrush included a few COMMON YELLOWTHROATS, at least two YELLOW WARBLERS, two WILSON'S WARBLERS, an 'ORESTERA' ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER, and a spectacularly drab 'CELATA' ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER. (This is the eastern subspecies and a nice vagrant on the West Coast.)
It was interesting to see the 'celata' and other warblers foraging low in fading flowers and seedheads of the rabbitbrush, as this habitat and behavior closely mimics what I've seen many 'celata' doing in late fall in Nebraska. There, mixed gangs of 'celata' and Nashville Warblers forage at knee-height in mistflower and goldenrod, both of which resemble rabbitbrush in height and flower type. Half a continent away from the eastern mistflower thickets where it "should" be, this 'celata' has found an almost identical foraging niche (and a misfit gang of late-migrant western warblers to share it with).
Nelson's Sparrow photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/99231652@N07/albums/72157699315191362'Celata' Orange-crowned Warbler photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/99231652@N07/albums/72157702545951295 Noah Arthur (Oakland)
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