Sunday, April 27, 2014

Birding Sweet Springs, Cerro Alto, and Turri Road

Sweet Springs - 8:00 am.  I was greeted by a robustly singing White-crowned Sparrow.  Feeding in the pond was a lone, Blue-winged Teal and a pair of Mallards.  Song Sparrow was scratching in the leaf litter, Spotted Towhee was singing.  Best birds were, Tree Swallow, Cedar Wax Wing, and a Purple Finch singing from the top of a tall Cypress.  The highlight of the visit was a lingering look at a Pacific-slope Flycatcher and a Western Tanager.
Cerro Alto - A National Forest campground off Hwy 41, between Morro Bay and Atascadero.  The road to the campground (photo) follows a creek that is densely vegetated with Willow, Oak, Sycamore, California Bay, and Poison Oak.  Wilson's Warbler, singing with intense gusto, flitted through the shrubbery.  Wilson's and Orange-crowned Warbler were numerous, House Wren was active.  As I progressed up the road the singing became intense.  In spite of the cacophony, was able to identify, Black-headed Grosbeak, Western Tanager, and Warbling Vireo.  The walk to the small camping area is beautiful but watch out for the poison oak. 
Turri Road -  Yesterday two Blue Grosbeak were seen where the creek comes close to the road; I had no luck finding them.  Continued up the road to the fallow pea field where two years ago I had seen a Blue Grosbeak.  Lazuli Bunting was singing from a large tangle of Willow (photo).  I stationed myself across the road from the Willows, as I did not want to spook the 5 inch little darling.  Finally noticed movement and was sure the bird would show his self when a band of cyclists sped by.  The singing stopped.  I waited, eventually relocating to the other side of the road.  While waiting, observed a pair of Lark Sparrows mating on a twig of a nearby Coyote Bush (a first time sighting).

After a few more minutes of quiet, the Lazuli Bunting perched on an outer twig and began to sing. I could see him perfectly.  Success!  As I was getting into my car 37 motorcycles passed by (I counted).  From now on I will only bird Turri Road on weekdays.