Date: 11/8/18 3:16 pm
From: Nick Lethaby via Groups.Io <nlethaby=<>
Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] Gaviota

I think a lot of this is down to coverage because of the Varied Bunting and Catbird finds and to the current weather conditions. Often it is extremely windy there and that makes birding very difficult (as well as likely making any migrants get out of there ASAP!). Recently we've light winds there along with a light NE flow during the night. I suspect we are getting (many) more migrants into the Pt Conception compared to when we have a more typical NW flow. Interestingly the Sage Thrasher was clearly moving E along the coast and Curtis suspected the CCSP was doing the same thing. It makes me wonder if some birds arriving in the Pt Conception area start moving E along the coast after a dawn arrival and pass through Gaviota, with perhaps a quick drinking stop. I recall finding a Vermillion Fly at the same are in the campground some years ago that, like many of the current birds, disappeared and was never seen again. Although birds could get lost in the riparian area there, I haven't seen much evidence that migrants use the riparian too much when I have got out into it with boots etc. It is probably a bit too dry to be good.

Anyway, it certainly looks like we need to pay more attention to Gaviota in these type of conditions, which are often common in fall, although not most of this one. The other factor that might be helping is that the campground is shut and disturbance is down. However, I am not sure that is such a big deal as many of the birds are just passing through.

The reality is that coverage is so poor along the CA coast and vegetation sufficiently heavy for birds to hide that if have a bunch of birders hit up a particularly spot over a period of a few days, there are bound to be extra things found.


-----Original Message-----
From: <main...> [mailto:<main...>] On Behalf Of Thomas Turner
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2018 2:59 PM
To: sbcobirding
Subject: [EXTERNAL] [sbcobirding] Gaviota

What is going on at Gaviota?! I would love to hear from some of the locals that have been birders a while about this. In the last few days there was been a Varied Bunting, Painted Bunting, Sage Thrasher, Catbird, Bobolink, and more. Obviously this is partly due to all the skilled birders going there look for the bunting Wes found — but there are plenty of places with lots of effort that don’t have so many rare birds.

Looking at eBird, it doesn’t seem like Gaviota gets tons of Fall effort (compared to, say, Refugio SB), but there are certainly people going there this year and in recent years. My understanding is that it used to be a great vagrant spot due to its tamarisks, and those are no longer there. Obviously it has some geographic advantages, but I thought it had been pretty quiet in the last decade. Any thoughts as to why there is so much there at the moment?

Perhaps it is a place that actually does get a lot of vagrants, but they are hard to see and/or move through quickly? It seems like each new visit missing the previous rarities but finds new ones!

Also, any general advice about birding there (parking, where to look) is welcome. I have only been there a couple times.

Thanks for your thoughts,

Tom Turner


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