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Summer Birding | Baron Ranch Trail, Goleta, CA

Note: Trail is open Saturday, Sunday, and Monday 8 AM-Sunset. Trail is well marked and restricted for use by trail runners and hikers only.

June 2020 Field Trip

Distance: 4.2 miles | Duration: 280 minutes | Habitats: grassland, riparian, woodland.

We parked our car in front of the gate at 8:30 AM and followed the paved road parallel to the 101 freeway and the Pacific ocean. We checked out the ocean side but no identifiable birds could be seen. The wind and freeway noise dropped as we walked the ranch road down the canyon.

A Mourning Dove and a Northern Mockingbird were part of the greeting committee.

Three Turkey Vulture buddies were enjoying the morning sun.

A Red-tailed Hawk landed on its favorite spot to enjoy the morning sun.

We passed another gate and the ranch mailbox and walked along the ranch gravel road. There was a riparian habitat to the left and a hill with chaparral habitat to the right. A California Scrub-jay and many Bushtits were present.

An inquisitive juvenile Black-headed Grosbeak approached us and started practicing its singing.

We heard several California Quails in the bushes to the left and one decided to take a walk on the road, away from us of course.

After the mowed field, we followed the trail sign to the right and hiked up the hill on a dirt road. We passed a tall palm tree were House Finches could be seen. We admired beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands while hiking along an old avocado grove. It was very quiet and made it easier to identify bird calls and songs.

As we followed the trail signage, the road narrowed as the landscape changed. The trail was inviting and really felt like the wilderness was slowing taking over the old orchards and avocado groves.

This Phainopepla male seemed agitated.

A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was building a nest.

Slide to find out what's hiding in this tree.

Answer: Bee hive

Strong Sulfur smell emanated from this blueish puddle to say the least.

A Pacific Slope Flycatcher could be heard as we checked out Quemado creek.

At around 11:30 AM, we arrived at our turnaround point for that morning: the creek crossing.

On our way down, several Oak Titmice were feeding. Two hikers on their way up let us know that they had seen a bear crossing the path, we knew they were not joking because we saw bear prints and scat on our previous visit.

A beautiful Keckiella cordifolia native to California.

The pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatcher had made good progress building its nest.

The male Phainopepla was still hanging around the same area as earlier and the female was also checking us out.

In the tall palm tree, we noticed a hanging nest most likely occupied by a pair of Hooded Oriole.

Other identified bird species included a Wrentit, A Song Sparrow, a Yellow Warbler, a Northern Flicker, a Black Phoebe, an American Robin, American Crows, Nuttall's woodpeckers, Lesser Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos, California Scrub-Jays, Spotted Towhees, Cliff Swallows as well as Black-chinned, Anna's and Allen Hummingbirds and Canyon, House and Bewick's Wrens. A total of 34 bird species.

May 2020 Field Trip

Distance: 3.6 miles | Duration: 200 minutes | Habitats: grassland, riparian, woodland.

We arrived around 9:15 AM which is a little late in the morning for ultimate birding. Yet we managed to identify 33 bird species.

A pair of Black Phoebe feeding two or more nestlings.

In an old avocado tree, a female Black-chinned Hummingbird on her nest made of spider silk and cocoon fibers.

Bear tracks from two bears were seen as well as bear scat.

A pair of American Robins.

A new life bird: a Blue Grosbeak.

Baron Ranch: we will be back!


Credits and Additional Information


Grassland, riparian and woodland habitats are ideal for birding through Baron Ranch while admiring views and getting exercise!



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