Comments by Wim on the current Green Big Day record:

On April 25 Jared Dawson and I did a Green Big Day for 2011 in the Goleta area. We followed the standard Big Day rules of the American Birding Association with the additional stipulation that we refrained from using any motorized means of transportation to get around and that we started and finished at the same location. We wanted to minimize the time wasted biking around so we focused on a few known good places, rather than racing around all the time.

We started at 6 am at the Berkeley bridge for warblers and other songbirds. After that we biked to Stow’s Grove Park to get our Red-breasted Nuthatch and some more passerines for the day. Lake Los Carneros was our last big location for the morning hours. Biking south we stopped at Tecolotito Creek at Hollister and checked out the wetlands around South Los Carneros Road. Area K disappointed greatly as all ducks had left by now; at the end of the day this location provided 0 unique birds. Detouring via Harder Stadium we turned west on Mesa Road where we had our first good bird of the day: 2 Yellow-headed Blackbirds. We continued west to Girsh Park, which delivered a hoped-for Say’s Phoebe, the only Western Bluebird of the day, and a place to have lunch. As predicted the wind was picking up in strength and as we arrived at a choppy and filled up Devereux, the time for small songbirds had passed. We ticked the 2 Brant Geese and some other expected stuff, but again no ducks. Our planned sea watch at Coal Oil Point was made difficult by the strong western winds. We got no scoters and only one far-away loon sp.; we did find Snowy Plover on the beach though. Walking and biking along Del Playa Dr we got a good collection of shorebirds by peeking over the bluffs. The campus lagoon finally got us an American Wigeon, Long-billed Dowitcher and Forster’s Tern. Campus Point was the highlight of the day with its Black Turnstone, Ruddy Turnstone and Surfbirds; too bad we could only stay there a few minutes because of the sand that was blasting us. The way back to Berkeley Rd went along Lagoon Rd, Goleta Beach, Ward Blvd + Dr (no Ross’ Goose), Atascadero Creek, Maria Ygnacio Creek and University Drive. This last strech was extremely unproductive and in retrospect we should have scheduled this later afternoon time for more water/shore birds. The last hour back at Berkeley bridge got us to avoid some potential embarrassments like Nutall’s and Downy Woodpecker. Last bird of the day at 7 pm was a Vaux’s Swift.

 - Wim van Dam (Solvang)
1. Brant
2. Canada Goose
3. Gadwall
4. American Wigeon
5. Mallard
6. Ruddy Duck
7. California Quail
8. Loon sp.
9. Pied-billed Grebe
10. Western Grebe
11. Clark’s Grebe
12. Brandt’s Cormorant
13. Double-crested Cormorant
14. Brown Pelican
15. Great Blue Heron
16. Great Egret
17. Snowy Egret
18. Green Heron
19. Black-crowned Night-Heron
20. Turkey Vulture
21. White-tailed Kite
22. Cooper’s Hawk
23. Red-shouldered Hawk
24. Red-tailed Hawk
25. Sora
26. American Coot
27. Black-bellied Plover
28. Snowy Plover
29. Semipalmated Plover
30. Killdeer
31. Black-necked Stilt
32. Spotted Sandpiper
33. Greater Yellowlegs
34. Willet
35. Whimbrel
36. Long-billed Curlew
37. Ruddy Turnstone
38. Black Turnstone
39. Surfbird
40. Sanderling
41. Western Sandpiper
42. Least Sandpiper
43. Dunlin
44. Short-billed Dowitcher
45. Long-billed Dowitcher
46. Ring-billed Gull
47. Western Gull
48. California Gull
49. Glaucous-winged Gull
50. Caspian Tern
51. Forster’s Tern
52. Rock Pigeon
53. Band-tailed Pigeon
54. Eurasian Collared-Dove
55. Mourning Dove
56. Vaux’s Swift
57. Black-chinned Hummingbird
58. Anna’s Hummingbird
59. Rufous Hummingbird
60. Belted Kingfisher
61. Acorn Woodpecker
62. Nuttall’s Woodpecker
63. Downy Woodpecker
64. Northern Flicker
65. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
66. Black Phoebe
67. Say’s Phoebe
68. Cassin’s Kingbird
69. Western Kingbird
70. Hutton’s Vireo
71. Western Scrub-Jay
72. American Crow
73. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
74. Tree Swallow
75. Barn Swallow
76. Cliff Swallow
77. Oak Titmouse
78. Bushtit
79. Red-breasted Nuthatch
80. White-breasted Nuthatch
81. Bewick’s Wren
82. House Wren
83. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
84. Western Bluebird
85. American Robin
86. Wrentit
87. Northern Mockingbird
88. California Thrasher
89. European Starling
90. Cedar Waxwing
91. Orange-crowned Warbler
92. Nashville Warbler
93. Yellow Warbler
94. Yellow-rumped Warbler
95. Black-throated Gray Warbler
96. Common Yellowthroat
97. Spotted Towhee
98. California Towhee
99. Song Sparrow
100. Dark-eyed Junco
101. Western Tanager
102. Black-headed Grosbeak
103. Red-winged Blackbird
104. Yellow-headed Blackbird
105. Brewer’s Blackbird
106. Great-tailed Grackle
107. Hooded Oriole
108. Bullock’s Oriole
109. Purple Finch
110. House Finch
111. Lesser Goldfinch
112. House Sparrow

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