Date: 3/22/21 9:00 pm
From: Steven Gaulin <gaulin...>
Subject: [sbcobirding] San Marcos Foothills Preserve; and Mission Canyon Heights
Prompted by Noah's recent post I decided to stalk Lawrence's Goldfinch, since it's been I while since my occipital cortex has fired in that LAGO way. I know that these beauties are seriously addicted to fiddlehead but for a fair while I couldn't find any stands of this wildflower. Spurred on by a pair of Common Ravens, and then a seeming-to-court pair of N. Harriers (I know, does not breed in our region, hence the intrigue), I finally found a less than 1 square meter patch of blooming fiddlehead, which I would probably not have noticed except for the vocalizations of ...Lawrence's Goldfinches!

Additional treats were four swallow species (Violet-green, Tree, N. Roughwinged, and Barn), and White-throated Swifts; the latter's activity centered around the 154 overpass bridge. Watch for breeding there, and at the Stevens' Park bridge on Foothill Road.

Back home and gardening I was alerted to a high-flying Cooper's Hawk by the characteristic high-pitched wavering passerine alarm call. A couple of hours later a Merlin streaked through. Seems like it was a raptor migration day. Any other sightings?

Thanks again, Noah!

Good birding,
Steven Gaulin
Santa Barbara

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