Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lunch Time at Cal Poly

Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo provides a good amount of bird habitat, including a couple of creeks, exotic planting on the school grounds, crop lands, pasture, ponds, dairies, etc. It is also close enough to my work for a lunchtime mountain bike ride for birds. Today, 1/7, I looked for the wintering male summer tanager where I had seen it before on Stenner Creek, but no luck. I did find Acorn Woodpecker and Steller's Jay - both new for the count. I finally found the tanager (pictured) at the main library - up in some eucs. I checked sparrow flocks around the vegetable gardens near Highland Ave. and Stenner Creek, where I had seen a White-throated Sparrow for the local Christmas bird count, but no luck. I checked several rows of pepper trees on campus for sapsuckers (their favoite tree along with walnut in this area). I found no sapsuckers, but I left a few students wondering who the "weirdo" was - riding his bike slowly around campus looking up in trees. A search of the huge blackbird flocks, at the new dairy facility, yielded many Tricolored Blackbirds. Checking Shephard's Reservoir and the nearby small pond yielded nothing unusual, but the small pond just off Stenner Creek Road had a Sora and a nearby Cassin's Kingbird along the creek. Using a mountain bike is really the best way to bird this campus! A quick lunchtime trip yielded six new BIGBY birds!

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