Santa Barbara Harbor, Jan, 2008

Last Sunday, after finishing tasks and chores early, decided on the spur of the moment to do what I had intended to do over the holiday break – revisit the Black Skimmers at Santa Barbara beach. The photo below was taken on that day, but not too many more, as the Skimmers were frequently interrupted by people on the beach – until some young children decided to chase the birds to a different part of the beach. After that, it took about 20 minutes to get out of the parking lot, so I decided it was far too busy to drive to the Harbor area, and I went home mostly empty-flashdisk.

(Black Skimmer – Santa Barbara beach – January 13, 2008)

Thus, it appeared that a week visit would be better to avoid the crowds. On Monday, took a late lunch after finding a suitable break in work, and spent a few enjoyable minutes watching the Black Skimmers, who were not disturbed this time. After that, drove to the Harbor where I saw a group/flock of Surf Scoters, but by this time the angle of the sun was such that the light was very harsh and the white on the Scoters was so bright that it seemed to bleed into surrounding areas in the photos, resulting in fuzzy beaks – and after pruning the bad, only two Scoter photos were left to tell the tale. I did encounter a Common Loon on the rocks of the breakwater, for a great close-up. I had hoped it was not injured, and that seems to be the case, as it was not there on the third visit.

(Surf Scoters – SB Harbor – January 14, 2008)

The third visit was early on Friday morning, and was very successful in numbers of species – Palm Warbler, a distant Long-tailed Duck, an Osprey eating fish, Grebes, and better Scoter pictures. The Palm Warbler photograph was a fluke. I had identified a tree in which a bird was perching after forays to the beach wrack, but the bird seemed to be too much like a Yellow-rumped Warbler. I was standing reasonably close to the perch tree wondering about what I had seen, when suddenly a different bird popped up briefly to check out the landscape, before it flew off to the beach wrack. By comparing photos when I got home, it seemed to be the Palm Warbler.

Palm Warbler
(Palm Warbler – SB Sea Landing – January 18, 2008)

That the SB County Birding Yahoo group exists is really wonderful – I would never have encountered birds such as the Palm Warbler, Long-tailed Duck without postings of the whereabouts of these species – and, when tracking them down to photograph, encounter others of interest as well.

(Osprey dining on fish – January 18, 2008)