I checked Atascadero Lake and the Atascadero Wastewater Ponds yesterday (February 7) for the first time since our recent storms. Water levels at the lake were noticeably higher, but bird numbers were down from recent visits. Most notable was a female Redhead that I photographed and pointed out to a couple of other birders present. One of the two male Canvasbacks was still present, as were a (continuing) Eared Grebe and pair of Cinnamon Teal. I also had a couple of Tree Swallows over the lake.
The Wastewater Plant had 44 Canada Geese (much reduced in number from my last visit), and, most notably, a male Blue-winged Teal (photographed).
Also of note: I photographed an immature Ferruginous Hawk near the intersection of Templeton Road and Vineyard/South El Pomar on the outskirts of Templeton, the first time I have ever seen that open-country species within 5 miles of my house.
Our lone White-throated Sparrow continues to winter along Graves Creek, singing from time-to-time, although it only rarely ventures into our yard to feed with the other Zonotrichias.
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