The 18th Cachuma Christmas Bird Count was held on December 27th, the day broke bright (except for our Owlers) and clear and soon turned into a beautiful day to be out birding. 45 birders set out knowing we faced difficult conditions with Lake Cachuma at an extreme low, no water in the river below the dam, portions of Figueroa Mountain closed off and a good many of hoped for winter birds not being seen during scouting efforts. With work we were able to find 140 species.
The most glaring misses were four usually conspicuous birds which had never been missed on prior counts including Osprey, Common Loon, Belted Kingfisher and Great-tailed Grackle. The end result was a count total 10 species below last year, 20 below the all time high for the count and the lowest total since 2007.