Santa Barbara, CA
Well, I've been in California for school for over a year and a half now, so I thought I'd post some of the birds you can find out here, in case any of you decide to come to my neck of the woods sometime.
Note: I have not been on a pelagic trip or a Channel Island cruise (to get the infamous Jay), but hope to do those soon. Both are recommended by everyone I know.
Here's a sample bird list from SB in winter, a nice time to be here when it is rather cold in many parts of the country. This is my bird list from the last couple of days:
In the foothills (Montecito area):
Red-crowned Parrot (?) ***A large flock has been in the area over the past month. I don't think these are recent escapees; apparently they have been around in years past. I'm pretty sure of the ID but hope to confirm soon.
Acorn Woodpecker (literally everywhere)
Wrentit (abundant and not shy)
YR Warbler (Audubon's and Myrtle)
Townsend's Warbler (also common)
White Crowned Sparrow
Golden Crowned Sparrow
DE Junco (Oregon)
At the beach/Bird Refuge on Cabrillo Blvd.:
Common Loon (up close and personal--beach birds aren't too shy around here)
BCNH (several small rookery areas near the Harbor--look for rows of trees along the sidewalk with droppings beneath)
Black Skimmer (huge flocks of these guys)
These are just records from the past few days...there's a lot to be seen here! Other notables: Cinnamon Teal, Sora, Whimbrel, Great Horned Owl, Pacific-slope Flycatcher (fairly common in spring), Say's Phoebe, Hutton's Vireo, Common Yellowthroat, Western Tanager, California Towhee, Hooded Oriole, Pine Siskin.
So I'd highly recommend a trip this way if you get the chance. Besides the nice weather, SB has great birds and marine life.
Re: Santa Barbara, CA
Amendment to my first post: Though I haven't seen any (yet!), we also have White-tailed Kites, as well as a whole breeding ground for Snowy Plover. Also in the county are Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Yellow-billed Magpie, and chances for CA Condor.
Re: Santa Barbara, CA
I lived in Goleta - a suburb of Santa Barbara - for 4 years in the early '90's, however I wasn't a birder then. Too bad as from your list I would have at least 7 additional birds on my life life. The area is so beautiful and the birding so good that it must be time for a visit!