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|
|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|