Team SSMS:

On April 23, Matthew Strusis-Timmer and I biked a Green Big Day in Santa Cruz County, along with a dozen other teams that were greenbirding their own counties on the same day.  Highlights for us included an astounding first 2 hours in Pogonip, with Ash-throated Flycatcher, Pileated Woodpecker, Hermit Warbler, Varied Thrush and Western Meadowlark all making appearances.  Next, we hit the grasslands across from the UCSC Arboreteum to reel in the localized Grasshopper Sparrow, and then we rode down Meder Canyon to Natural Bridges, where we enjoyed our first shorebirding and seabirding of the day.  At Wilder Ranch, we had great looks at a soaking wet Peregrine Falcon, a Cackling Goose and a flyby pair of Rhino Auklets, as well as the amazing views that the wave-pounding north coast always gives.  We rode the coast southward along West Cliff Dr, picking up rocky shorebirds like Black Turnstone and Surfbird and enjoying good looks at a pair of Marbled Murrelets. 

After a slow afternoon stop at Neary Lagoon where we missed Marsh Wren (!), we headed over to San Lorenzo Park and the river mouth, and we realized that the crowded beaches next to the Boardwalk were not helping us with shorebirds we had missed.  As a thick, misty fog descended upon us, we added a Forster’s Tern fishing near the Walton Lighthouse at the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor.  Matt spotted a Black-crowned Night-Heron lurking along the San Lorenzo River as we rode upstream and finished out the day with 130 species. 

Thanks to all of you who have already submitted your sightings…I hope this event is as much fun for you as it is for me!  Do share…whether your big day was hanging out in your backyard for a few hours or a more strenuous hiking, biking or even kayaking effort.  If you documented your efforts with photos or video, feel free to share those as well, either here at this blog or on Facebook.

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