Santa Cruz, CA, USA (hiking)

Alex Rinkert & Scott Smithson

We walked an all day loop on April 21, birding hotspots in mid-town scz, westside and UCSC area.  We were joined for part of the day by Jackie, and she was instrumental in spotting several species for the group…thanks!  Notable birds included a tan-striped WHITE-THROATED SPARROW at Neary Lagoon close to where the cement trail along the treatment plant meets the grass by the lagoon.  We were also pleased to see one each of lingering MEW and HERRING GULLS along the San Lorenzo River.  Later in the day, we had a calling ASH-THROATED FLYCATCHER at Moore Creek Preserve, as well as a singing BULLOCK’S ORIOLE, which to my surprise, was up at the ridge top in redwoods.  Near the end of the day, we were fortunate enough to glimpse one VAUX’S SWIFT flying over Westlake Pond after we had confirmed several RING-NECKED DUCKS still in town.  Darkness fell just as we reached upper UCSC campus, and we missed a few common forest birds, but we ended up enjoying hearing or seeing 121 species on the day.
Check out www.greenbigday.org to see what’s going on with other teams doing “carbon-free” birding in their home counties!
Good birding,
Scott Smithson

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