Saturday, June 23, 2012


For the last few days a handsome Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea) has been seen in the area of a glorious pea field about a mile and a half up Turri Rd. from So. Bay Blvd. When looking for a rare bird, the easiest way to find it is to first find the birders. As I rounded a curve in the road, up ahead was a cluster of parked cars and a covey of birders, one with sound recording equipment and a scope. I had arrived.

The Bunting was singing from atop a cluster of willows that was located along the edge of the narrow, two lane road. The scene could not have been more beautiful, for the willows were located in a vast field of flowering peas. Notice, in Maggie Smith's photo, how the subtle color of the peas sets off the deep blue of this precious song bird.

I did a little research and discovered that Indigo Bunting's are actually Black; it is the diffraction of light through their feathers that makes them look blue. It goes without saying that this beautiful Bunting made my day.

(I apologize for the fuzzy pea foto, wrong setting on camera)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


El Chorro Park - Audubon year end BBQ - Definitely, a happening event with many enthusiastic birders attending. The weather, as you can see by the vivid blue sky, was devine. At 5:00 Mike Stiles, one of the top birders on the Central Coast, lead an hour birdwalk (photo). All he needs to ID a bird is a flick of a feather or a tiny peep.

I was surprised at the variety of beauties we saw. (birds, not birders) Best birds were a pair of highly visible, White-tailed Kites sitting in a tree, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher - most handsome with a perky crest and a long reddish-brown tail. Below is a link to the Ash-throated Flycatcher on Wikipedia (photo by none other than Joyce Cory). Ash-throated Flycatcher - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Great birding, delightful shared food and drink, and splendid comradery. What more could one ask for?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


A few days ago a Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) was observed in willows which are located on Audubon property near Cuesta Inlet in Los Osos, Ca.  As the crow flies, the inlet is across Morro Bay from where the Catbird was last seen (on the south side of Morro Rock) in December 2008.  Needless to say the local birders were all a flutter.

 The Gray Catbird belongs to the Family Mimidae which also includes Mockingbirds and Thrashers - all notable singers, able to mimic other songbirds.

The Catbird, most distinguished, as there is only one species in North America, was playing hide and seek with the birders and photographers.  (photo taken at Morro Rock in 2008).  I never saw the little gray darling, but was able to record its sound.  Much like our local Mockingbirds, the Catbird song is composed of a variety of sounds, including a cat-like meow.  I do not believe I heard a meow, but I could be mistaken.  I have included two YouTube videos - The sounds of the Catbird, and for comparison a neighborhood Mockingbird who does a marvelous imitation of a Scrub Jay.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


A few days ago a friend mentioned hearing an unusual bird song in Sweet Springs. (photo - Eucalyptus reflected in pond)  The morning was lovely, partially sunny, with a soft fog over the bay and the distant dunes.  Perfect conditions for checking out the action in Sweet Springs.  Numerous songs could be heard but nothing unusual.  To my delight, observed Willow Flycatcher and Pacific-slope Flycatcher in the Eucalyptus trees.  Had not seen either one of these little darlings for at least a year.  Both the Flycatchers have unusual songs, but they were not singing, just darting about eating insects.

To my added delight a couple of  the resident Common Yellowthroat, one on each side of the pond, were having a song fest.  Recorded a short video of a Yellowthroat song.  In the background may be heard (besides the swoosh of automobiles) Song Sparrow and White-crowned Sparrow.
The Juncos were lively - youngsters chasing after parents in hopes of getting a handout. Hmm, sounds familiar. Thank you Sweet Springs.  You never disappoint.