Monday, October 31, 2016

Central CA Coast Part 2

Flowering Eucalyptus trees lined the streets of Morro Bay, amazing color in October.
Marbled Godwit


We walked the beach and found a few more shorebirds and a fish that some boys had caught and they said it's great to eat.

20 foot waves hit the rocks at Morro Bay

Oak Titmouse

We then drove southeast along the foothill roads north of Santa Barbara.  We stayed at Rancho Oso RV park for a couple days.  It was terrible to see how dry everything was and to see the burn areas that had closed most of the national forest campgrounds along Paradise Road.
Oregon Junco

Spotted Towhee

At the park we did pick up a few new birds and were dealing continually with Acorn Woodpeckers trying to hide acorns in every crack and hole they could find in our RV.  We had to cover up the ends of all the slide awnings but they still found a spot under the back slide.
Acorn Woodpecker hides food in our slide

We drove farther east to Lake Piru Recreation Area where we spent three nights.  This reservoir holds lots of waterfowl and grebes.
Ruddy Duck

Western Grebe

After a five and a half year drought the water level is 90 feet below what it should be.  Fisherman were taking their boats down 4 levels of ramps to get to the water.
Lawrence's Goldfinch

Colorado four o'clock flowers

This canyon  goes into the vast California Condor Sanctuary and we were blessed to see two different sightings of soaring condors.

Steller's Sea Lion & California Sea Lions

We went back to the coast to Ventura and took the National Park Boat (Island Packers) to Santa Cruz Island, part of the Channel Islands National Seashore.  It was an hour trip out and we had smooth sailing.

Common Dolphin

Red Phalarope

We saw hundreds of Common Dolphins, Steller's and California Sea Lions, Cassin's Auklet, Xantus's (Scripp's) Murrelet, three different Shearwaters, and abundant Red Phalaropes.
Channel Islands from Santa Cruz

We then loaded 6 at a time into rafts to land on the island, fun jump to shore!  We walked the trails and easily found the small Island Grey Fox.  He was chowing down on figs that he had climbed the tree to knock down.

Our main target bird was the Island Scrub Jay, only found here on Santa Cruz.  Much larger, darker blue and more distinctly marked.
Rufous Hummingbird

Peregrine Falcon on sail boat mast

Bluegum Eucalyptus blossom
 We have spent the week at Ventura Beach RV Park walking the half mile to the ocean and birding the riverbed area.  Tomorrow we head to Malibu Beach.

Love & Prayers,
Ty & Ida Baumann

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