After being at sea in the western Pacific for 45 days, it was
wonderful to come home and do some land birding in San Benito County.
I saw many of the usual migrants (first of the season for me), in
addition to the "regular" resident birds. Highlights were: 1 PACIFIC
LOON at Paicines Reservoir. To my knowledge, this is only the 5th
county record. Four of those records have been at Paicines, with the
last two records on April 26, 2006 and May 17, 1998.
Also at Paicines Reservoir today, 6 GREAT-TAILED GRACKLES (5 adult
males, one sub-adult male/female) made an appearance. They flew in,
calling, and touched down, briefly in the small willow tree on the
west side. But, they took off, heading west rather quickly. To my
knowledge, this is the highest count of grackles for the county, and
only the second record for the reservoir. (The other record for
Paicines was May 8, 2005 of one individual).
Also at Paicines were: 2 SPOTTED SANDPIPERS, 1 CASSIN'S KINGBIRD, 2
GADWALL and 1 CLARK'S GREBE. The water is as high as I have ever seen
it. The single willow tree surrounded by water may well play host to
nesting Green Herons, as in past years, if the level remains high.
Other highlights of the day included finding one brown headed BALD
EAGLE chick in the only known nest in San Benito County. The female
flew in and spent a lot of time feeding the chick. On John Smith
Road at the Guerra Vineyard, I found a Loggerhead Shrike feeding two
dependent, fluffy youngsters who were hiding in the olive tree.
I spent most of the day on Comstock Road, off of Fairview Road. This
road dead ends in 5 miles but contains a good array of habitats:
small vineyard, ornamental plantings, open hilly grasslands, several
ponds, a running stream along an oak woodland canyon with sycamores.
It is an overall good birding road for many of the "usual suspects."
One can only bird from the road, however, as all land is private.
Arriving migrants included: BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, LAZULI BUNTING, BLACK-
HEADED GROSBEAK, HOUSE WREN, WARBLING VIREO, PACIFIC SLOPE FLYCATCHER
and ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER. A Eurasian Collared Dove was carrying
Happy trails to you,
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
South Georgia: Where No Road Goes
October 18- November 4, 2010
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