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Spring Birding | Farren Road, Goleta, CA

Habitats: grassland, riparian, woodland.

Community Science: please continue reading about "2020 Global Big Day".

This was our first time birding Farren Road. Before starting work on Monday, we drove all the way up to the Ranch gate (2.5 miles) and parked on the side of the road. We were there at 8 AM.

We looked for the Common Ground Dove in the avocado grove, no luck. We noticed Mourning Doves, Acorn Woodpeckers and a Western Kingbird.

We drove down the road and stopped a couple times for a few minutes. Views were outstanding and the temperature was already around 70°F.

We identified Blue-gray Gnatcatchers hopping from tree to tree and a Greater Roadrunner foraging in the avocado grove. An Ash-throated Flycatcher was carrying nesting material.

We parked the car after I noticed a White-tailed Kite hovering. There were already several birders watching the Kite. I briefly chatted with Don, a former a classmate, he was looking for Lazuli Buntings. I was hoping to see Blue Grosbeaks, I took photos of a bird hiding in an Eucalyptus tree but could not identify it. We had to go back home to start our work day so we decided to go back later in the week. When I checked my photos, I realized the mystery bird was a Lazuli Bunting.

Saturday was "2020 Global Big Day", we birded Farren Road again as planned. We parked our car 2.1 miles from Calle Real at around 7:45 AM. I turned on my eBird phone app to help us record a count of all bird species we could identify. The coastal fog was dense so it was difficult to find birds and take good photos. We walked up the road and saw a Common Raven silhouette as well as a Phainopepla, Eurasian Collared-Doves and Rock Pigeons. In the avocado grove, a pair of California Quail was hiding from us. A female Brown-headed Cowbird checked us out and flew away. Spotted Towhees could be heard in the distance. A California Towhee perched on a Cactus to observe us.

As soon we reached the Eucalyptus grove, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, American Crows, Bushtits, a Pacific-slope Flycatcher and a Oak Titmouse were very active in the trees. A Bewick's Wren was singing. A Turkey Vulture was quietly hovering about the trees before perching itself again.

I was able to take shots in the distance of two Cassin's Kingbirds before they flew away as we approached the Ranch gate.

Beyond the Ranch gate, Mourning Doves were present.

Two male Hooded Orioles were calling from their respective Palm tree.

This Acorn Woodpecker seemed like it just had a bath.

As we walked down the road, we identified a European Starling, several House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches and a California Scrub-Jay.

The fog started to clear out and we could actually see a California Thrasher sing.

As we reached the car, we noticed several birds flying to together. They landed on a Pepper tree.

I passed our car and carefully walked down the road to take a few shots of the Phainopeplas.

A Male Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was harassing the Phainopeplas. May be they were too close to its nesting site.

We got back in our car and drove slowly trying to identify as many birds as possible on our way down. It was tricky because the fog got more dense as we got closer to the coast. Two Red-tailed Hawks flew over us. A House Wren standing on a pipe flew away as we approached. Away from the road, a Male Western Bluebird was sitting on a fence post looking for bugs.

Hanging out together on a dead tree, a Northern Mockingbird, a House Finch and a male Brown-headed Cowbird could be seen.

A California Quail disappeared into the fog as we drove by.

We stopped by the Eucalyptus tree where we had seen the Lazuli Bunting earlier in the week. We could only hear a Anna's Hummingbird and barely see the cows laying in the grass close-by.

By the last stretch of road near Calle Real, some 50 Cliff Swallows were busy catching bugs over the Mustard field.

We observed 30 bird species and counted a total of 141 individuals over 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Farren Road: we will be back soon on a sunny morning to look for Blue Grosbeaks!


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