Date: 2/3/21 7:10 pm
From: Florence Sanchez via <sanchezucsb11...>
Subject: [sbcobirding] Santa Maria Mesa Road Ponds
I had some time to check these out this morning, so drove to the location via Foxen Canyon Road.  That enabled me to check the ponds going from east to west and that turned out to be a good thing.  It was quite foggy along Foxen Canyon Road but it cleared at Tepesquet Rd, so the Mesa Road ponds area was clear.
The first pond I stoped for was the "south pond" on the vineyard property away from the edge of the road.  I was able to see down into the pond and picked up only one duck--a female Common Merganser.  No sign of a male.  I then checked out each of the other ponds in turn.  The water levels are very low and I didn't have a lot of ducks in any of them, but ended up with a nice species variety in total, though the species differed from pond to pond.  My species list included Mallard, Shoveler, American Wigeon, Cinnamon Teal, Green-winged Teal, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Ruddy Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, 2 Least Sandpipers, 1 Kildeer, 1 Great Blue Heron, and 3 Turkey Vultures resting on the bank of one of the ponds. 
The blackbird flock wasn't large but I had a chance to pore through it pretty carefully when it was down on the ground.  All I could pull out today were Brewer's and Red-winged Blackbirds.
I headed back the way I came and in checking the south pond one more time, the Common Merganser was gone.  If I'd come in from the west today as I usually do, I would probably have missed it.
Foxen Canyon Road was now clear so I kept my eye out for raptors.  From Tepesquet to Zaca Station Road, I had 1 Red-shouldered Hawk, 6 Redtails, 1 pair of American Kestrels, and 1 Ferruginous Hawk.  In addition, I found two good-sized flocks of Yellow-billed Magpies and a Loggerhead Shrike.
Florence Sanchez

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