Saturday, January 9, 2010

Whale Rock Reservoir

Today I pedalled up Old Creek Road from Highway 1, just south of Cayucos, to Whale Rock Reservoir. It was out of the coastal fog , but had a nice long climb to the top of the road before you drop down to Cottontail Creek Road which runs along the back of the reservoir, where the best birding usually is. The riparian habitat is birdy along Cottontail Creek Road, the bushy slopes above can be productive and the inlets of the lake along Old Creek and Cottontail Creek, at the back of the lake, are often good for waterfowl. I looked for the Rufous-crowned Sparrow in the first good brushy area along Old Creek Road - above the reservoir. The sparrows were all around me, but running through the bushes like mice so I could get no photos. I gave up and went on to Cottontail Creek Road where a lone bird perched on an open weed next to the road. I put my binos on it and it was a bold Rufous-crowned. I went up to it and took photos. When I gave calls it came in so close I had to back up to take photos; the above photos were 2 of the many ones I took of this friendly-seeming sparrow.
Since the water level in the lake was low, the number and variety of waterfowl was low and my only other new BIGBY bird was a Violet-green Swallow, soaring above with a Tree Swallow. These were the only two new year birds despite looking for 3 stake-out rarities at spots on the way home. Today's mileage was about 40 miles. New species are becoming more work already!

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