The 17th consecutive Cachuma CBC was held on 29 December 2015.
Finally, a not so blustery day on Tuesday the 29th December, in the Santa Ynez Valley at least. But the temperatures were at or below freezing early. Years of consecutive below average rainfall has taken its toll on the vegetation, insects, and small mammals. 53 observers found 149 species; our highest count was 160 species in 2010. Birders in higher elevations found very few individuals and many expected species were missed there due also to national forest gates being closed.
Interesting finds include:
2 staked out birds:
Eastern Phoebe at Bridlewood Winery Sage Thrasher at Sedgwick Reserve, a new species for the Cachuma CBC.
A new Vermilion Flycatcher, an immature male, was found by Larry Ballard on a private road. One of the Vermilion Flycatchers that reside on Baseline Road was seen during count week, but not on count day.
Grasshopper Sparrows in upper Happy Canyon by Jared Dawson.
Tree, Violet-green, and one Barn Swallow, found on Lake Cachuma.
Cackling Goose and Snow Goose were on the lake.
Shorebirds were present on the abundant mudflats, but all peeps were Least Sandpipers. More than 50 dowitchers and at least 2 Greater Yellowlegs were also present.
7 owl species, including Burrowing, Northern Saw-whet, and Spotted.
A few Red Crossbills were seen, quite uncommon in this CBC circle.
Townsend’s Solitaire and Varied Thrush, but many fewer than last year
Scaly-breasted Munias were found again. The other newly documented exotic species for the count circle may be colonizing: Ring-necked Turtle Dove.
Below is a list of our biggest misses. If you saw any of these species in the count
circle on 29 December or within 3 days of the 29th, please let Sheri Lubin know.
any diving duck
Count week birds include a Black-throated Gray Warbler seen the day before along Baseline Road; Herring Gull, and another white goose on the lake that could be Ross’s.
Thanks to all participants, and scouters. Kate McCurdy and Andy Lentz and other volunteers at Sedgwick generously hosted our compilation dinner, which was prepared by Cruz Phillips.
We’re especially grateful to 10 or so landowners who allowed us access to some incredibly beautiful properties. Rosey Bishop and SB County Parks granted us access to the lake and the County Park, loaned us a boat.
Peter Schneekloth, Sheri Lubin, Cruz Phillips, and Mark Holmgren