Date: 1/3/21 2:18 pm
From: Kent Forward via <kforward...>
Subject: [pen-bird] Pescadero - Ano Nuevo CBC (Area 3B) Summary
Happy New Year Birders,
I was fortunate to usher in some 2021 birding alongside Joshua Stacy and Casey Girard as we covered the Pescadero town area for yesterday's Ano Nuevo Christmas bird count. We covered our area on bikes, despite more rain than the forecast had called for, we remained in good spirits as we slogged about. It was surprisingly birdy all day with a couple of real surprises - once again the town area delivered some goodies!
As we rode towards Water Lane to kick off the day, our first bird was the continuing FERRUGINOUS HAWK perched on a fence in the field just south of Pescadero Creek Road near the entrance to Water Lane. We also spotted some WILD TURKEYS foraging at the very back of the field: 
Water Lane was surprisingly birding, we tallied 49 species. Highlights here included a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (tan-striped), a PEREGRINE FALCON, and a flock of RED-CROSSBILLS flying over. At last night's wrap-up Zoom meeting, we heard a report of a similar sized flock seen by the Marsh team, quite possibly the same birds (we saw them flying eastwards from the Marsh area). Also, great to see 100's of TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS working fields along the road. 
Then it was off to the Butano Creek riparian area where we caught up with two SWAMP SPARROWS in creek-side vegetation just downstream of the Pescadero Creek Road bridge. A dozen COMMON MERGANSERS were also a nice treat, especially being so far upstream - almost to the bridge. While checking the dense riparian habitat on the east bank Casey spotted a WILSON'S WARBLER, we all got on it with the bins and after a decent amount of time and effort managed just one bad document photo. Of course quite common in the summer, but a big surprise for the winter!  We also saw the first of what would wind up being three MERLIN's on the day:

Next we picked up lunch at Mercado & Taqueria De Amigos and were going to enjoy it while staking out the continuing YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER originally found by Noah Arthur on Dec. 22nd, working sap holes in trees on left side of Tri Counties Bank building on Stage Road in town. No stake out needed, it was there upon arrival! So we then opted to eat lunch at the Catholic Church on North Street in the somewhat longshot hope the Orchard Oriole from the prior 2 winters might have returned for a 3rd, alas it was not to be. But good consolation was getting on an adult GOLDEN EAGLE soaring North over the area:
It was then time to head up Pescadero Creek Road and over to the High School area. As we approached the Butano Cutoff intersection, Casey struck again with another great out of season find, a female/immature type BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK!  We had to double check our calendars and we agreed it is indeed winter and not summer in San Mateo County!  Also of note while we struggled to get photos of the grosbeak, the FERRUGINOUS HAWK flew over and landed in a pine tree up on the hill side to roost for a time.  We figured this was probably the continuing light morph from the field to the west seen earlier in the day, so it might be spending time / roosting in this area as well:

We were a bit water logged after the day's action, bike riding, some rain (luckily not too cold!), and a decent amount of mud. But all in all, we were quite happy with a great day, great birding companions, and great birds in a great part of San Mateo County!
Good Birding All!Kent ForwardEl Granada

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