Total ABA Species Recorded During 2010 - 731

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Two Owls and a Pussycat

At the suggestion of Paul Lehman we got in touch with Wes Fritz in Solvang CA.  He is the local authority on the owls of the Santa Barbara area, the best area in southern California for owls.  We arranged to meet Wes at our motel this morning and he was there at the appointed time.  After breakfast we went in his four-wheel drive Isuzu up into the mountains that separate the Santa Inez valley from the Pacific Ocean.  The wind was howling at over 20 mph, but we gave it the old try for Northern Pygmy-Owl (lower web photo).  At the third stop we got a reply, but the owl didn't come out where we could see it.  It was a triumph, particularly given the conditions.  We didn't do any more owling during the day, but instead tried for a couple of woodsy birds in the hills around the valley.  It was difficult birding.  As the sun went down we returned to the area we had worked in the morning and successfully hooted up a Western Screech-Owl which we were able to get in the spotlight (upper web photo).  Efforts to get a Northern Saw-whet to answer our calls were not met with success.  We did however hear a Great Horned Owl and see a Barn Owl on our way back to town, making it a four owl day.  The pussycat in the title was a gorgeous bobcat seen during the morning calmly walking up the hill on the other side of the stream.  And yes, I did have some of the Danish pastry in Solvang.  The two owls raise the species total to 404.  We'll try for the Yellow-billed Loon tomorrow.


  1. Wes Fritz came out off Hatteras last year and got all the gadfly petrels plus European Stormie. He's a Chum Master! Maybe rub his head for luck?

  2. You said your total was 404 on the 9th, but yet you added two birds on the 10th. Shouldn't it be 406 on this day? Sorry, I am behind on my blog reading.