Date: 1/28/20 4:44 pm
From: Florence Sanchez via Groups.Io <sanchezucsb11=<>
Subject: [sbcobirding] Santa Maria Briding
I decided to bird various spots in Santa Maria today and had a pretty good day overall.  It got windy after 10 a.m. and thus landbird birding was pretty much a wash after that.
I started on Donovan Road where in past years we've had Ferruginous Hawks, Tri-colored Blackbird, Loggerhead Shrike, etc.  No sign of Hawks or Shrike today, but the Tri-colored were in a large mixed flock of Blackbirds that hangs around the area, sometimes near the horse corral.
I've also had Horned Larks here but figured today might not be good for them since cattle were feeding in the field right next to the road.  I found that actually helped, as it pushed a mixed Lark-Pipit flock quite close so that they were easy to see.  There were at least a dozen Horned Larks in with about as many American Pipits.  Across the road, I found a big sparrow flock that was almost entirely Lark Sparrows--30-40 birds.  I pulled a single Savannah Sparrow from the mix as well.
Next stop was Waller Park where I failed to anything of note in the pines.  The wind came up as I left.  I stopped at the little park where Jamie Chavez had a possible Pine Warbler, but the pines throughout the park were devoid of birds.
The next stop was the (formerly) flooded field on Black Road.  It was being watered but was not wet enough to pull in any of the birds we've seen there in the past.  In the rear field, I scoped out 5 Long-billed Curlew.
Next stop was the catchment basin on Blosser and Canals Roads.  It is hard to see the entire lake from either Grogan Park on the east or Canal Road on the west, so I checked from both sides.  From the Canal Road vantage point, I could see a large flock of ducks that were hidden from Grogan Park.  It meant looking into the light and over a tall fence, but I was able to pick out at least 6 Canvasbacks in the mix, along with Ring-necked Ducks, Ruddy Ducks, and a Bufflehead.  A single White Pelican circled overhead--I don't know if it landed on the water.
I moved up to Preisker Park to eat lunch and afterward walked through the park.  Between the wind and time of day, I didn't see much, but there were a few American Goldfinch in a deciduous tree with catkins on it, and a lot of Yellow-rumps in the large blooming eucalyptus on the north side of the park.
Next stop was the Santa Maria Mesa Road ponds.  I checked out two of them--one had a large flock of mostly American Wigeons and the other had a very large flock of mostly Ring-necked Ducks (at least 150).
Meanwhile, I started counting raptors as soon as I left Santa Maria via Foxen Canyon Road.  I continued back to U.S. 101 on Foxen and Zaca Station Roads.  The wind didn't seem to be a factor in turning up raptors and I saw a lot of them, but perhaps had more variety the last time I drove this stretch of road.  My totals for both the entire stretch is:
1 unidentified large falcon (fly-over on Foxen Canyon Road near Dominion Road4 American Kestrel (way fewer than I had last time)15 Red-tailed Hawks6 Ferruginous Hawks (including 1 dark-phase immature)1 Golden Eagle
And fellow travelers:6 Turkey Vultures6 Ravens
Florence Sanchez

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