Date: 12/20/20 10:46 am
From: maliadances via <maliadances...>
Subject: [pen-bird] Crystal springs CBC areas 2A and 2B
Yesterday Chris Hayward, Devin Peyton and I covered area 2A and 2B for the Crystal Springs Christmas Bird count. We three started the early part of the day separately with Devin in area 2A, Chris starting at home, then moving out to the Half Moon Bay Water Treatment Plant while I hit Venice Beach to sort through the large gull flock there.

Chris observed our continuing White-throated Sparrow in our yard first thing. The ONLY California Scrub-jay we had all day was seen in our yard in the morning.

Nothing super rare in the gull flock, but a continuing adult Ring-billed Gull is rare on the coast here. Pilarcitos Creek is now a large lagoon. A Short-billed Dowitcher was unusual as was a Pied-billed Grebe at this location. The continuing Virginia Rail was heard. While surveying I was entertained watching a man walk backwards the entire way from Frenchman’s Creek to the gull flock. I lingered a bit to see what he would do when he reached the gull flock. He basically walked backward into the flock, did not scare them, and started taking selfies. When I arrived at the beach the 3 Greater White-fronted Geese were not present, but as I was about to leave they flew in. Had I not been intrigued by backwards-walking-man I may have missed the geese.

Chris Hayward felt the HMB WTP was a bit slow, but he noted a flock of female/immature Purple Finches containing no adult males. The only PUFI we had for the day. He also noted 60+ Pine Siskins. Pine siskins were in abundance the entire day.

I continued to Sweetwood Group Camp to undergo a serious scan for the Worm-Eating Warbler. The warbler was last photo documented on 11/7 and reported again in late November. I spent time scanning along the creek where I managed not to disturb a roosting Great Horned Owl. Chris joined me and we split up to give more coverage to the area. Devin also joined us with another set of eyes. No luck finding the warbler. There are too many places for a skulky warbler to hide along this creek! Sweetwood was full of Pine Siskins. A group of Western Bluebirds were at the open grass area at the picnic tables and seem to be there year round. A large flock of icterids were seen at the Sea Horse Ranch and contained at least 50 Tricolored Blackbirds.

We headed north on our bikes. Passing the agricultural field just north of Young Avenue, Devin spotted the first group of Western Meadowlarks for the day in the field. This area has planned development for a hotel, convention center and RV Park. Locals are opposed to this project. Google “Save Dunes Beach” to find links, information and how you can become involved.

A Marbled Murrelet was first spotted by Chris, then re-found by me just off of Miramar Beach. All three of us got great looks and photos. As we biked the trail just north of Miramar, we commented at how many Western Meadowlarks (30+) were in the field between The Miramar and Surfers Beach.

Nice ride back home. Gorgeous day. Great team! Looking forward to Ano Nuevo Count on Jan 2.

Malia DeFelice - Chris Hayward - Devin Peyton

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