Date: 1/23/19 8:18 am
From: William Bouton <boutonbill...>
Subject: [slocobirding] Carrizo Plain, Tuesday, 1/23
I’ve not been able to get out birding much lately and have been developing a serious case of cabin fever. Though it was late to begin an expedition, I spontaneously decided to make a trip to the Carrizo Plain N.M. Weather-wise, at least, it looked like a day for fine East County scenery. And I was inspired by Will Knowlton’s recent mammal report from the area. I left at approximately 09:30 from SLO Town, returning at 15:00.

It was VERY QUIET bird-wise. And quiet traffic-wise. During this midmorning drive on Highway 54 between Santa Margarita and where the 54 leaves the hills behind, and the Plain unfolds ahead (40-some miles), I saw only two other vehicles, one eastbound and one westbound. My route was: leave CA-54 at Branch Mountain Road, to Belmont Road, to Soda Lake Road. I made a side trip a mile or so up Sprague Hill Road, then back to Soda lake Road and as far SE as KCL Campground. Return via same route. I saw NO other vehicles in operation (other than several work trucks grading Soda Lake Road) during the approximately 3.5 hours between leaving Highway 54 and returning to it. This was entirely car birding.

Weather was: mostly clear sky, cool, light winds.

I have never seen so few birds during any trip to the Carrizo Plain. Some birds of interest (to me):

Burrowing Owl, 1 Some fun photos at <>

Golden Eagle, 1

Red-tailed Hawk, 4

Ferruginous Hawk, 3

Cooper’s Hawk, 1

American Kestrel, 6

Prairie Falcon, 1

Loggerhead Shrike, 4 only

Mountain Bluebird, 36 (Saw 5-6 scattered small groups; nothing like the huge flocks of winters past.)

Tricolored Redwing, est. 100-120 in two flocks (I couldn’t tell if all birds in the flocks were that species.)

Mammals of note:

Antelope Ground-Squirrel, abundant

Tule Elk (I think that’s the subspecies), 46

Pronghorn, 2


Bill Bouton
San Luis Obispo, CA

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