- Bill Bouton, Mike Stiles, Dave Lawrence and I birded Arroyo de La Cruz (San
Luis Obispo County) this morning. We did not encounter many migrants, which
is often the case there.
We decided to walk out in to the freshwater marsh northeast of the creek
the west side of the road). The marsh is cris-crossed with cattle trails.
While crossing the marsh, Bill and I had a small rail flush from our feet.
The bird flew directly away from us (sun behind us) no more than four feet
off the ground (just enough to clear the tallest scirpus) and landed about 20
feet away. White secondaries were the only obvious field mark we saw in the
short, two to three second look we had of the bird flying away. Bill noted
that the back was streaked with brown and gray and neither of us noted any
chestnut or reddish tones. From our research, the white secondaries appear to
be diagnostic and it is our feeling that the bird was a YELLOW RAIL. Is this
considered a diagnostic feature for this rail?
We walked back and forth through this marsh several more times without seeing
the bird. If anyone is considering looking for the bird be advised that this
is not an easy place to refind it even though the marsh is less than an acre
We also saw a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW along highway fenceline.
Highway 1 crosses Arroyo de La Cruz north of Point Piedras Blancas in coastal
northern San Luis Obispo County.
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- Hi Folks, I was up yesterday at Willow Lake and heard a/the Yellow Rail at the spot Peter Gaede reported last week. I ran into some birders that were confused about where the bird was so i thought i would clarify Peter's directions a bit. From the Willow Lake campground follow the trail up the NE side of the lake/wetland (actually traveling NW) up above the lake. Approximately 200m above the lake (about 600m from the parking area) and about 200m before the National Park boundary (which denoted by a split rail fence and open gate across the trail) you will find Peter's X made with two sticks (someone has now added an arrow out of sticks as well). From the trail you can hear the rail just about 20m away down in the meadow. It looks like someone has walked out in the meadow here - please protect the meadow, sedge sprites, and rails by keeping out of the meadow. I heard the bird at noon yesterday and numerous other folks have easily heard them at all times of day. Willow Lake is also a great spot for Sora, Virginia Rail, Snipe, Willow Flycatcher, Pileated Woodpecker, and a wide range of other mountain birds. Good luck, Ryan