Monday, April 16, 2012

Santa Cruz (14th)

Santa Cruz
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The next outing was up north to an area called Santa Cruz, yet at a distance of several hundred miles this was no casual road trip. My parents were attracted to the location due to an interest in the film Lost Boys which was filmed here. Unlike the dry chaparral desertiness of Agoura, Santa Cruz was in a more lush hilly environment which could be seen long before entering the region itself.                                                                
 
Farms, ranches and orchards were commonplace in this area.
       I only really had one goal for this trip, and that was to see a Yellow-billed Magpie. Once a bird that numbered in the thousands, the population of this special corvid has dropped considerably. I hear they even used to be found in Agoura, but now the furthest south they lie is many hours north of here. Santa Cruz is part of their range, and they are apparently surprisingly common in the right place. I mistakenly assumed they were just as urban as the European and Black-billed Magpies, but I couldn't have been more wrong; they were quite picky and only inhabited the right kind of oak woodland. No wonder I couldn't find any in the town of Santa Cruz.
 
Naturally there were quite a few gulls in Santa Cruz. Now that spring had arrived I assumed the winter gulls would start migrating north. In Los Angeles they would be scarce, but the further up the coast you go the better the chance of seeing the last few stragglers. I had various pale gulls that could have fit Glaucous-winged (or Olympic). Glaucous-winged is a nice bird that I could not get enough of (even though I had only seen one before coming here) but I was still hoping that maybe I could find a Thayer's.
 
The most promising bird of the day. For Glaucous-winged that is.
 
Tommorow I planned to get up early for a walk down the pier for some seawatching. The pier went right out into the sea so there was a chance of something interesting (here's hoping).

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