Paul Lehman 400 CLUB
PAUL’S COMMENTS: Read all of Paul’s comments on the following page:
Hugh Ranson 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: CURLEW SANDPIPER
HUGH’S COMMENTS: The last time I wrote I had dreamt about discovering an Asian passerine, and that came to pass in October, 2007, when I came across a Dusky Warbler at Elings Park, my local stomping grounds. Even though it's one of the drabber species, it probably remains my favorite self-found bird, with the Bird Refuge LeConte's Sparrow a close second. It's always satisfying to find your own birds, especially on your home turf. All my memories of birds are intertwined with the people who were there; there are stories and faces that go with every bird. Other good Elings Park rarities have included Gray Vireo, Pine Warbler, and Red-throated Pipit, though I'd have traded a couple of those to see Peter Gaede's Elings Upland Sandpiper! I’ve been birding in the county since 1981, and I’ve been lucky enough to find several firsts for the county. The one and only Brown-crested Flycatcher is one of them, found on San Jose Creek with Allyn Bissell in 1984. We were out birding trying to get our minds off the recent death of a young friend and birder, Dean Bazzi. I misidentified the (silent) flycatcher as a Great Crested. Paul Lehman and Jon Dunn later corrected the error-- I wasn’t too displeased. A few other highlights over the last few years include finding Black Vultures (2!), Winter Wren, and being in on the thrilling discovery of nesting Goshawks. One of my favorite day’s birding was aboard the Condor Express in September ’02. On that magical day we saw Black-footed and Laysan Albatross, all the jaegers, Craveri’s Murrelet, Red-billed Tropicbird, and Wilson’s Storm-Petrel. Since retiring in 2022, I've made it a goal to get out to Santa Cruz Island as much as possible, especially in September and October. The potential for finding interesting birds there is great. In fall 2022 I came across such goodies as Philadelphia and Yellow-green Vireos and a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. I'm looking forward to spending a lot more time wandering up and down Scorpion Canyon in the years to come. My contribution to Santa Barbara birding? I've written about local birds for the News-Press, and currently write a monthly article for the Santa Barbara Independent. My most valuable contribution, I hope, would be turning elementary students on to birding and all aspects of the natural world.
Brad Schram 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: SPOTTED REDSHANK
BRAD’S COMMENTS: Finding the first county Roseate Spoonbills at Goleta Slough in July 1973 was a definite rush! My (then) four year old daughter pointing out an adult California Condor overhead as we drove hwy. 101 at State St. the day before the 73 CBC is a fond memory. The 78 fall juxtaposition of a White Wagtail on Devereux Slough with a Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher at Old Married Student Housing nearby is memorable. Birding with Paul Lehman and Louis Bevier on 16 September 1984 when Paul spotted a Little Curlew is an all-time birding highlight-- a first hemisphere record! After years of searching in north county, finding a flock of Pinyon Jays at Dry Canyon in the fall of 2000 became a favorite memory. I suppose that finding Carpinteria Creek as a birding venue in 1977 is my most significant contribution to county birding in that it has proved to be one of the county’s most productive vagrant traps. I should note that untold hours in the field with so many of Santa Barbara County’s birders have enriched my life in a way that list check marks never could.
Joan Lentz 400 CLUB
JOAN’S COMMENTS: Read all of Joan’s comments on the following page:
Dave Compton 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: CONNECTICUT WARBLER
DAVE’S COMMENTS: Great Crested Flycatcher, a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird, mainland American Oystercatcher, Common Nighthawk, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Philadelphia Vireo, and three Yellow-green Vireos are among my best finds, but I have come up woefully short at finding first county records. My biggest jinx has to be Murphy's Petrel, since it occurs on exactly the spring deepwater pelagics that I DON'T go on. While at this point, I'd like to add anything to the county list, I really wouldn't mind finding a Red-faced Warbler or a Cerulean Warbler. Of course, I really think we need to add Thick-billed Kingbird, and Slaty-backed Gull to the county list, so I'd take to the hit for one of those.
Paul Keller 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: VERDIN
PAUL’S COMMENTS: I am missing Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel. I was on the boat but I missed it. Kentucky Warbler is overdue. I count Manx Shearwater but this bird was rejected by the CBRC. I would like to find Shy Albatross someday. My personal contribution to birding in Santa Barbara County is serving as Santa Barbara Audubon Society field trip chair for nine years.
Guy Tingos 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: CURLEW SANDPIPER
GUY’S COMMENTS: I’m especially proud of my total since it only includes one pelagic trip. If I didn’t get deathly seasick, I’d really kick butt! My best find was being part of the group that found the county’s first Eastern Wood-Pewee.
Cher Hollingworth 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: DUSKY WARBLER
CHER'S COMMENTS: I've been birding since 6th grade, but I've set 1982 as an official "started keeping lists" date. My birding has had long, slow periods due to pregnancies and kids (you guys have it SO easy). I have so many favorite SB Co birds, especially seabirds. At the moment, the best is the 2005 Baikal Teal that Wes Fritz found. I'd arranged the trip, but was unable to lead it because of an out-of-state funeral. The first thing that I did, when I got off the plane, was to drive to the sewage plant before it closed. I really enjoyed watching the teal blink with yellow eyelids... books don't show that. My 400th Santa Barbara County bird was the 2007 Dusky Warbler, a good "milestone bird." The 2000 Louisiana Waterthrush was another great bird; I was with Brad Hines when he photographed that bird. Other favorites at the moment, in a continually changing list, are Barrow's Goldeneye, Laysan Albatross, Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Brown Booby, Tufted Puffin, Manx Shearwater and Yellow-green Vireo. My best find is probably an American Oystercatcher. The worst miss has to be Curlew Sandpiper; it went onto private property, so I didn't follow it. I'm hoping to find a Short-tailed Albatross in the right county.
Florence Sanchez 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: BALTIMORE ORIOLE
FLORENCE’S COMMENTS: It took awhile to create a county list for this webpage. For years I only kept a life list and a yard list. There are a couple of species that I’m sure I’ve seen in this county, but since I have no specific recollections or documentation for them, I’ve not included them. When I finally reached the 400 milestone, I went over everything again to be sure the total was correct. My 400th county bird was Baltimore Oriole, a species that was most uncooperative for me for a long time. I’ve been birding since 1968 and moved to Santa Barbara County in 1969. During a 10-year period (mid- 70’s to mid- 80’s), I didn’t bird much due to other commitments. We also lived in Indiana 1995-1998. My biggest known miss was the Little Curlew. For years, my most frustrating miss was Laysan Albatross, but I finally got one on a 2011 pelagic trip, and I never again have to go out on the ocean in spring! The best bird I personally found and added to the county list was the Wilson’s Plover on the Harbor sandspit in 1992. I also was the first person to spot Fork-tailed Storm Petrels dancing off the end of Stearn’s Wharf in 1990. As far as contributions to birding, for several years I monitored both banded Snowy Plovers for PRBO and banded Black Skimmers for CSU Long Beach. From these surveys, we learned that some of our wintering snowies came from as far away as inland Oregon, and that our skimmers came from all the nesting sites in Southern California, including the Salton Sea. The bird I would most like to find and add to the county list would be White-rumped Sandpiper, especially since this species eluded me several times in Indiana.
Curtis Marantz 400 CLUB
TOTAL: 432 (NIB)
400th BIRD: WHITE WAGTAIL
CURTIS’S COMMENTS: I am presently at 432 (NIB) in Santa Barbara county after seeing Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Streaked Shearwater, and Craveri's Murrelet in the county in 2022. I have seven additional, introduced species, having never seen any parrots in the county. This said, I do not count those birds that I have seen in the dreaded "doughnut hole" or on Santa Barbara Island, and I do not count the two heard-only birds that I have (Ridgway's Rail and Flammulated Owl), so with all of those, my total would be closer to 445 in the county. Little Curlew is probably my best bird probably followed by White Ibis, Spotted Redshank, and Verdin, but not sure about the order of these...
Ken Hollinga 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: THICK-BILLED LONGSPUR
KEN’S COMMENTS: I lived in the county twice (on Vandenberg SFB) from 1974 -1979 and again from 1987-1992. I didn’t work on a county list during those years, and didn’t chase birds locally unless I simply wanted to see them for general interest or other listing purposes. Finding a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper near the Santa Ynez River mouth in 1990 was one of my county highlights. I was also fortunate to see (along with Paul Lehman) the first county record of Gull-billed Tern, also at the Santa Ynez River mouth. Observing a Red-billed Tropicbird on the Santa Maria ABA Conference boat trip was certainly another highlight. Now that I’ve moved back here to stay and have more free time, I’ll probably make at least some effort to try and upgrade my county list. Editors note: In December 2008 Ken recorded his 300th bird on Vandenberg SFB
Jon Dunn 400 CLUB
Barbara Millett 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: BROWN THRASHER
BARBARA’S COMMENTS: Read all of Barbara’s comments here:
Nancy States 400 CLUB
NANCY’S COMMENTS: I have been birding for over 40 years, many years on the East coast and for all the years I have finally been living in Santa Barbara. I think one of my favorite sightings was the Yellow-breasted Chat in my yard one spring. I am fond of that bird and to have it visit was thrilling. Also the Calliope Humming bird that perched on top of the fountain one morning. That was fun. I hope to add to that this year and years to come. There are so many good places to bird in this area. I feel fortunate to be living here.
Joan Hardie 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: YELLOW-GREEN VIREO
JOAN’S COMMENTS: Best find was Eastern Wood-Pewee (first county record), which Guy Tingos and I found near Big Pine, June 15, 1994. Nagging misses, and there are many, include Frigatebird and Ovenbird. The bird I would like to add to the list is Yellow-crowned Night-Heron. Although I tried to see the really rare sightings, I didn’t concentrate on my county list until the year of the [Big Year] “competition”. That was the year I became obsessed. I saw areas of Santa Barbara previously unknown to me. During one 10-day period I drove to San Miguelito Park in Lompoc 9 times (I never did see the Louisiana Waterthrush). I took 6 boat trips! When it was all over I had seen 337 species and had added 28 birds to my county list.
Bill Murdoch 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO
BILL’S COMMENTS: Probably my most satisfying bird was finally seeing a Hammond's flycatcher, which was first found this spring on Refugio Rd by Tom Turner. For quite a few years I have chased and searched all over the county for this bird. My most recent new bird, the Mississippi Kite, was spectacular - beautiful and also a lifer for me. I have to say, though, that my favorite bird comes every year - the first male Townsend's warbler in our yard each spring. Equal to all the birds as a source of joy, is the wonderful SBCO birding community. This is just the friendliest and warmest group of folks one could ask for. We are blessed with some truly great birders, and to a person they are kind to, and supportive of the rest of us mere mortals.
Jamie Chavez 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: GRAY CATBIRD
JAMIE’S COMMENTS: My favorite county birds are Little Curlew (1993 version), and the county first Wood Thrush found in Waller Park not far from my Santa Maria home. A personal highlight for me was finding a Red-necked Stint at the Santa Maria River estuary in June 1995. I've had many memorable finds such as Little Gull, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Magnificent Frigatebird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, multiple Pine Warblers, Yellow-throated and Grace's Warbler, and a Blue-footed Booby at Destroyer Rock on Vandenberg SFB was memorable. I also comfortably count a Yellow-green Vireo from Vandenberg but this was not accepted by the CBRC. I do have some glaring misses however - Spotted Owl (visually), Red-eyed Vireo and Painted Bunting are just a few of the nemesis birds I have yet to see in the county. I may be dreaming, but I would love to add a Red-faced Warbler to the county list someday! I think my greatest contribution to county birding was creating the sbcobirding listserve in 1999 which I feel has brought the local birding community together.
Rebecca Coulter 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: BANK SWALLOW
REBECCA’S COMMENTS: In pure numeric order, my 400 Club was Bank Swallow, which I was able to run out to see a few minutes after it was reported by Dave Compton at Devereux, after years of never being in the right place at the right time for that species. After they are debated in perpetuity, #398 and #401 might be questionable—the Santa Maria Garganey and Lake Los Carneros Fulvous Whistling Duck. But #402 came along with a rogue Mississippi Kite at Alisal picked up by a visiting birder, clinching my membership even if both ducks get the boot. Perhaps most memorable, though, was #399. It came on a day when all of Santa Barbara was orange, just like the first county record LeConte’s Sparrow discovered at the Bird Refuge by Hugh Ranson during the Thomas Fire. And in so many ways, that day was for me one of the reasons I love birding in this community. We came together to share stories of the drama that was unfolding around us, while we watched as an exquisite orange sparrow prowled along the ground under the weeds. It was a life bird for me, as well, and I was happy to share it with my birding friends, like I’ve done with so many others on my list.
Rob Lindsay 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: BROAD-WINGED HAWK
ROB’S COMMENTS: I believe I have the distinction of having birded Santa Barbara County as long as any who still live here (45+ years) and also for having taken the longest to reach this milestone. I owe a great deal to many of you for getting here. In the early days, I thank Jan Hamber for placing me out on several remote mountaintops to help her study the last wild California Condors ; Jon Dunn for pointing me towards my first Semipalmated Sandpiper; Louis Bevier for Canada Warbler, several uncommon flycatchers, and a host of pelagics; Jim Greaves for Bell's Vireo and Nelson's Sharp-Tailed Sparrow, and of course Paul Lehman for a plethora of rarities too numerous to mention - the Little Curlew will forever remain the best county bird he showed me but there were so many others. In the modern era, I owe Wes Fritz for Baikal Teal, Mark Holmgren for Spotted Owl, and Dave Compton and Nick Lethaby for so many recent rarities and county firsts. But I'm also proud of several good birds I was able to find on my own; Long-eared Owl on the Sisquoc River, Clark's Nutcracker on Madulce Peak, and Rusty Blackbird and Lapland Longspur right here in town. Birding Santa Barbara County has been endlessly rewarding for its own sake and for the chance to associate with so many fine birders and wonderful people. I can't wait to see what's next!
Noah Gaines 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: CURLEW SANDPIPER
Jim Long 400 CLUB
400th BIRD: BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE
JIM’S COMMENTS: I want to thank Wes, Nick and Marge and Don Thornton for several lifers. Best bird is Red-footed Booby on the pelagic where we got all 5 boobies in one day. A favorite has to be the Nazca Booby. Memorable would be finally seeing the last day the Zone-tailed Hawk was seen and finally getting the Scott's Oriole after at least 5 trips to Cuyama to get it just inside the County at Quatal Canyon. Favorite is still my first listed yard bird, the Hooded Oriole. 5- plus hours standing almost all in one spot at Ocean Park got me the Nelson's Sparrow. 20 minutes to UCSB and another 20 more got me the Black-legged Kittiwake at Campus Point on Jan 5th for number 400.
JIM’S COMMENTS: I've counted 399 species in Santa Barbara County since 1977 (including islands and Channel), and photographed more than 300 of them. Aside from meeting many superb birders and wildlife photographers over the years, my favorite moments have to start with the WOOD THRUSH that Lark and I found in Santa Maria on 10 November 2005, adding it (finally!) to the Santa Barbara County List. Others include the dozen male Kentucky Warbler I found/saw in 1992 (including 7 of which I mist-netted, banded, and released) in upper Santa Ynez River watershed (all or most of which spent the summer), and the Yellow- throated Vireo I found up Mono Creek the same year. In addition, I have seen Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Black Swift as migrants up there, as well as confirmed evidence of nesting by Long-eared Owls, Spotted Sandpipers, Wood Ducks, and Common Mergansers. And of course, with the help of Jan and Hank Hamber, finding that isolated population of Least Bell's Vireos at Gibraltar Reservoir!
Wim van Dam
WIM’S COMMENTS: I started birding for real in the fall of 2009 when my local patch at Ellwood Mesa produced a lot of migrants and I had my first chase for the county's first Black Vulture. Six years later I had a personal Black Vulture over my house in Solvang, which probably will remain my Best Backyard Bird Forever. Fortunately I still have several embarrassing misses on my county list, so I should be able to reach 400 within the next few years by taking care of those.
JARED’S COMMENTS: I've been blessed to have had 13 years birding in the county with such a fabulous birding community. Now that I have moved to Sonoma County, and just lucked onto the Mississippi Kite, I'll update my total. Best remembered day was 6 new pelagic birds during a summer deep sea trip that included Guadalupe Murrelet, those fabulous Cook's Petrels, and Leach's Storm-Petrels. Also memorable were the '05 Wood Thrush and the '04 Sedge Wren. Cruz's Kentucky Warbler was way cool. And camping next to an unexpected calling Long-eared Owl in the Cuyama Valley was fun.
TOTAL: 388 (NIB)
JOHN’S COMMENTS: I have never lived in Santa Barbara County, but love birding there and enjoying the wonderful birds that are found in the county. I especially enjoy those birds that linger long enough for those of us in northern California to get down to see. As a California County Birder I bird all 58 counties and it is always a real treat to spend time birding in Santa Barbara County.