Sunday, 22 February 2015

California day seven - Santa Barbara to Los Angeles

All good things come to an end. Saturday was the last day in California, and we wanted to make the most of the day as we were due to fly back to London from Los Angeles mid evening. Before the birding started, we had a bit of good value in the beachside parking lot. There was this big guy sitting in his van near where we were scanning the beach, and he just threw his rubbish out into the parking lot! An attendant came over, picked it up and asked him why he did that - to which this guy replied 'because I'm sick'. Anyway, I had never seen such blatant contempt for the environment and laziness, even here in the US. Compelled to say something, I approached the guy and said 'hello, we've been travelling around California and you are undoubtedly our c**t of the week'. To which he said 'thank you'. Some people never learn...

So birding wise, we started off in Santa Barbara, a place I know well and only an hour or two from the airport. First off was Alice Keck Park, where there's been a regularly returning Thayer's Gull for the last few winters. It hadn't been reported recently, so it was a little surprising to find it present on arrival.
adult Thayer's Gull Santa Barbara, California
It didn't stay long though, and hadn't returned an hour or so later either. Quite a few interesting gulls around the pond here too, including a nice looking 1st-winter American Herring Gull as well as a couple of hybrids.

1st-winter American Herring Gull Santa Barbara, California
The beach itself was quite busy once the sun came out mid-morning. And suffice to say, our last bit of gull action produced some showy birds of the usual species.
adult California Gull Santa Barbara, California

adult Heermann's Gull Santa Barbara, California
We headed off east along the coast road early afternoon, with the intention of targeting one species - Lawrence's Goldfinch. It seems as though it has been a good winter for this sometimes tricky species, and armed with Ebird reports, we headed to Thousand Oaks and an area of weeds just north of the Lutheran University. At least 70 birds were found here, all in a tight though mobile flock. Loads of males too, and a splendid end to another decent trip in the US.
Lawrence's Goldfinch Thousand Oaks, California

1 comment:

  1. You gave him what he wanted most: attention! Just like a naughty child!