Saturday, April 24, 2010

Looking for Spring Migrants

My daughter was visiting for the weekend, so I took two morning bike rides on Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25. That way I could be back home not too long after she got up from bed. Whale Rock Reservoir and Cerro Alto Campground are two good spots in the spring and early summer. They are also far enough away from the coast for a good variety of breeders and close enough for relatively short bike rides from where I live (about 30 miles round trip for each).

On Saturday, on the way to Whale Rock I stopped near Morro Bay Sate Park and had a singing Olive-sided Flycatcher (BIGBY # 238) at its annual spot in eucalyptus trees near the Ranger residence along State Park Road. I didn't even have to get off my bike to here "Drink three beers!" Whale Rock had great birding along Cottontail Road, which parallels the main creek that feeds into the reservoir. On the down slope side, the thick riparian habitat had a variety of singers, including Black-headed Grosbeak, Bullock's Oriole, Yellow-breasted Chat (BIGBY # 239), Wilson's Warbler, etc. On the drier pastureland uphill side of the road Blue Grosbeaks, Rufous-crowned Sparrows and Lazuli Buntings sang. The views of the lake are great from here as well. I stopped on the way home to watch Cliff Swallows getting mouth fulls of mud from a wet spot near the road, for their nest building.

On Sunday I rode up to Cerro Alto Campground - located in a canyon about eight miles from the coast. I had a great variety of singing species all along the road and up onto the trail from the back of the campground, but nothing new for the year. I did manage a photo of the local Merriam's Chipmunk, which is quite shy. On the way home I took a short detour on Turri Road, into a ranching area near the coast. A low wet spot here surprisingly had a Green Heron (BIGBY # 240).

I will not have a Bird ID Challenge for a couple of weeks as I am taking off on a nine day, 500+ mile solo bicycle ride to the South Fork of the Kern River, the Greenhorn Mountains, and the Mojave Desert. I depart early Tuesday, April 27.


  1. Wow, nice birds, and I'm impressed re: your 500+ mile bike ride. Phew! How exciting. Might a book come from that and/or similar adventures?

  2. Thanks for the kind comments. I hope everything goes smoothly on my trip and I have nothing unusual to write about except the birds! I am 70 miles out and no new birds, but tomorrow may be better. I should find many new ones for the year on the weekend - around the Kern River area. I will try to post this weekend.

  3. I have not been able to upload a new post to my blog from my cell phone. I am 7 days into my ten day bike trip and have seen 25 new BIGBY species with my favorites being Scott's Oriole, Goshawk, and Piliated Woodpecker. Will post when I return. My year total is now 265 species. I hope for 3 to 5 more on the way home.