©Maggie Smith

"400 Club" Members

Brad Schram
Tom Edell
Greg Smith
Jim Royer
Karen Havlena
Curtis Marantz
Bill Bouton
Maggie Smith
Mike Stiles

San Luis Obispo County Listers

These birders keep a county list and have submitted the numbers to me. If you would like to be included here, please send information in the format below to mstiles@calpoly.edu.

NIB = No Introduced Birds (Chukar, Wild Turkey, European Starling, Rock Pigeon, House Sparrow, Eurasian Collared Dove, Nutmeg Manikin, California Condor) Some birders do not count introduced species. It is your choice how you want your list included here. Just let me know.

Total county list = 467 (459 NIB)
Most recent update 02 September 2018

Brad Schram
Total Birds: 438 NIB (439) including Eastern Wood Pewee--not accepted by CBRC)
400th Bird: Brown Booby- July 1996
Brad's comments: My best county bird seen is Ivory Gull and best bird found is probably Trumpeter Swan (1973--second So. Cal record) and Arctic Warbler--found by a group of us at Oceano--would be a close second. I'm still waiting for Greater Pewee, Bendire's Thrasher, and Hepatic Tanager.
Editor's note: Brad also has 457 birds for Santa Barbara County!

Tom Edell
Total Birds: 431 NIB (432) including Eastern Wood Pewee--not accepted by CBRC)
400th Bird: Brown Booby- July 1996
Tom's comments: My best finds in the county are, Arctic Loon (7 Dec 1991), Yellow Wagtail (Sep 1981), King Eider (Oct 1985), Garganey (with Jim Royer in Oct 1991), Yellow-billed Loon (with Curtis Marantz in Dec 1990) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (Mar 2010). Painful misses are Tricolored Heron, Wood Stork, and Golden winged Warbler. Still waiting for Trumpeter Swan, Emperor Goose, Chimney Swift, Pinyon Jay, Clark's Nutcracker, Bendire's Thrasher, Bohemian Waxwing, Hepatic Tanager, and American Tree Sparrow.

Jim Royer
Total Birds: 431 NIB
Jim's comments: My best county finds were Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Grackle, Zone-tailed Hawk, Little Gull, Tricolored Heron, Red-necked Stint, Golden-winged Warbler, and Yellow-throated, Yellow-green, Blue-headed and Bell's Vireos. My "easiest" miss is Cassin's Finch. My worst miss was the Arctic Warbler - I was birding in Mexico.

Greg Smith
Total Birds: 427 NIB
400th Bird: Pinyon Jay- 05 Dec 1995. Found on Red Hill Road off Highway 58.
Greg's comments: My best county bird was the first definite record of White Wagtail (Motacila alba) for the State of California, 05 Oct 1984. I'm still looking for Yellow-billed Loon, Least Storm Petrel, and Laysan Albatross.

Curtis Marantz
Total Birds: 423 NIB
400th Bird: Horned Puffin- 16 July 2007
Curtis' Comments: My best bird is the Piping Plover. Because of its declining status it may not be seen again. Easiest misses are Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel, Least Flycatcher, and Mourning Warbler.

Bill Bouton
Total Birds: 413 NIB
400th Bird: Red Crossbill- 07 October 2012
Bill's Comments: I consider some of my best finds in SLO County to be Blue-winged Warbler, Red-necked Stint, Yellow-billed Loon, Brown Booby, Yellow Rail, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Grace's Warbler, and Cape May Warbler. My worst miss is what I believe was an "Old World Warbler" that got away without being identified in the Arroyo de la Cruz wetland.


Karen Havlena
Total Birds: 409 NIB
400th Bird: Brown Thrasher- 19 April 1999
Karen's comments: My best county bird (that I found personally) was Dickcissel. It was also a "yardbird" for me, 7-10 Sep 1991. My two worst misses are Cape May Warbler and Wood Stork. I would love to add Wood Thrush to the county list.

Maggie Smith
Total Birds:403 NIB
400th Bird: Zone-tailed Hawk
Maggie's Comments: My 300th bird was the Northern Pygmy Owl, 9/1/05. My best find is the Yellow-green Vireo that I found at Oceano. I feel fortunate that my wish list is still quite long: Tufted Puffin, Least Flycatcher, and Tufted Duck. Like Mike I want to find a first county record. I also enjoy "everyday" birding and the joy of seeing a male Yellow-headed Blackbird shining in the fog at Oso Flaco Lake is the epitome of birding your patch.

Mike Stiles
Total Birds: 401 NIB
400th Bird: Lesser Black-backed Gull- 07 Aug 2018
Mike's Comments: My best find is the Yellow-throated Warbler in Pecho Willows and secondly Lucy's Warbler and Scarlet Tanager, both found, coincidently, at the Montana de Oro Campground. My favorite birds seen are Ivory Gull, Red-necked Stint, Bar-tailed Godwit, Cassin's Sparrow, and Blue-headed Vireo. Still waiting for Tufted Puffin and Tufted Duck, Garganey, Least and Dusky Flycatchers, and Broad-winged Hawk, to name a few "easy" ones, and I REALLY want to find a county first someday. My contribution to county birding is the formation of Slocobirding email rare bird alert, and the creation and upkeep of these web pages. I also have 243 birds seen while walking, no fossil fuels used.

John Luther
Total Birds: 372 NIB
John's Comments: I have never lived in San Luis Obispo County, but have relatives living in Los Osos, Templeton and Paso Robles so I keep getting back there. Best birds I have seen include Reddish Egret, Golden-winged Warbler, Painted Redstart, and the recent Dickcissel.

Nancy Mann
Total Birds: 370 NIB
Nancy's Comments: Favorite Best Birds: Magnificent Frigatebird the first month I lived in the County (in 1979), Brown Thrasher, Mountain Chickadee, Pinyon Jay, Arctic Warbler, and Ivory Gull. The logistics of Brown Booby off Diablo Canyon with Ben Stephens is one of my favorite birding memories. Most Painful Missed County Bird: California Condor. I'm still waiting for the CRBC to accept Flamingo for Morro Bay.

Al Schmierer
Total Birds: 363 NIB
Al's Comments: Maybe the best birds that I have found would be the (first county record) Reddish Egret and several Pinyon Jays in 2003. The most beautiful of the rarer birds on my list would have to be the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, followed by a male Scarlet Tanager as a distant second. In a way, a Least Bittern up close in the open in the sun in my scope was one of the most satisfying birds!

Brian Daniels
Total Birds: 359 NIB
Brian's Comments: My best birds for SLO would be Piping Plover, Arctic Warbler, and White Wagtail. Although I live in Los Angeles County, I've managed to see 34 warbler species in SLO including Cerulean Warbler and Connecticut Warbler.

Jon Dunn
Total Birds: 356 NIB
JLD's Comments: Best birds include Tufted Duck, King Eider, Piping Plover, Rock Sandpiper, Black Swift, Least Flycatcher, Great Crested Flycatcher (2), Arctic Warbler, White Wagtail, Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Kentucky Warbler, Connecticut Warbler (2), and Painted Redstart. Worst misses are Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Bobolink, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Indigo Bunting. And, am looking forward to seeing a Le Conte's Thrasher. I used to bird in SLO rather frequently in the 1980's when I lived in Santa Barbara. I enjoyed birding there again recently in connection with the WFO meetings in Santa Maria and look forward to spending more time there again. I suppose that 1979 Stejneger's Petrel on the Davidson Seamount trip has now been taken by Monterey County (not included in my total).

Ryan Jorgeson
Total Birds: 348
Ryan's Comments: My personal best find in this 2007 Spring was a MacGivilary's Warbler found on Santa Rita Road in Templeton. May 30th on Reservoir Canyon Road in SLO County Lazuli Buntings were present. My Second Personal best find this Spring was a White-Throated Sparrow. The Horned Puffins were also very rewarding

Tom Slater
Total Birds: 346 NIB
Tom's Comments: On October 27, 2011 I couldn't name three birds. Then I walked into a theater and watched The Big Year and when I walked out my life was changed forever. In three days I had binoculars and a Sibley's field guide and my first bird, a Yellow-rumped Warbler that I found in my backyard. Better than that, my seven-year-old son Owen asked... "Dad, what are you doing?" To which I replied, "Birding." He wasted no time, "Can I do it too?" Off we went on the adventure together. Over 300 county birds in less than three years while working two jobs, raising two small kids, and staying married. No big records or discoveries. It's just about the birds. My favorites in SLO county are: my first flock of Cedar Waxwings (50+); Indigo Bunting on Turri in the flowers; Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (AG); Crested Caracara (LOVR); Blue-footed Booby (MB); Long-eared Owl & Scott's Orioles (both male & Female- Carrizo); and a male summer plumage Bobolink I found out at Oso Flaco. Thanks Maggie, Tom, and other avid SLOCO birders who have mentored us. Bird on!

Jamie Chavez
Total Birds: 345 NIB
Jamie's Comments: Personal highlights are Pine Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, two Scarlet Tanagers, Painted Redstart, Laughing Gull, Yellow-throated Vireo and Mountain Chickadee. I feel fortunate to have seen the Arctic Warbler and the Golden-winged Warbler. There are several missing birds on my list including some owls and pelagic species. These will come in time. If I knew exactly where the county line is at the Santa Maria River estuary I might add Little Curlew and Red-necked Stint to my total. I only count these on my Santa Barbara County list. I would like to find a county first Dusky Warbler one day!

Eric Wier
Total Birds:337 NIB
Eric's Comments: My 300th bird was a male Calliope hummingbird, observed in my back yard in April 2014. My rarest County bird was the beautiful Ivory Gull enjoyed by many in November 2010. My most exciting "find" was while riding with my wife on our tandem bicycle: a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher on a split rail fence along Orcutt Road at Moretti Canyon Road in May 1990.

Regena Orr
Total Birds: 324 NIB
Regena's Comments: I do live in San Luis Obispo County and thought I would make Mike feel better by joining the County Listers. My best county bird was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo that I banded in San Simeon.


John Sterling
Total Birds: 317 NIB
John's Comments: I have never lived in San Luis Obispo County but I have birded there a bit over the past 25 years. Best find was 3 Blackburnian Warblers in one day--a day before the Grace's Warbler was found!...best birds include Piping Plover, Arctic Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Ivory Gull, and Cassin's Sparrow. I hope to contribute by finding a first county record someday.

Jim Lomax
Total Birds: 316 NIB
Jim's Comments: No comments yet.

Mark Brown
Total Birds: 311 NIB
Mark's Comments:I used to live in San Luis Obispo and currently live just a few miles south of the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara County line. I was first taken birding by Mike Stiles in January 1979. (The Carter Administration children) We saw Bald Eagles at Lopez Lake, my first county bird! So, I really have no excuse why my county list is so low!! I am missing some embarrassingly common birds. But I have seen good birds including: Tufted Duck,Scarlet Tanager, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Prothonotary Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Canada Warbler, Common Grackle, Glaucous Gull, Laughing Gull, & Gray Catbird. I have found "Mark Brown's Myiarchus" at Oso Flaco, the Cal Poly Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (helped by Adonis Tate), I cofound with Kyle Braunager the Laguna Lake Franklin's Gull, also Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, White-winged Dove and Broad-winged Hawk. I have seen Black Terns at Oso Flaco for the last three Mother's days, a favorite birding memory. I have really enjoyed birding with the SLO County boyos and Maggie these last few years.

Owen Slater
Total Birds: 311 NIB
Owen's Comments: I am 14 and have seen over 300 county birds, despite being on so many sports teams. I really like the excitement of chasing a new bird in a forest, across a field, or on a beach. I enjoy the awesomeness of finding a new life bird. I also like hanging out with and learning from other birders like Maggie, Tristan, Brad, and Jamie. My favorite birds in SLO are: Black-footed Albatross, Blue-footed Booby, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Le Conte's Thrasher, Summer Tanager, and my most favorite of all the Loggerhead Shrike. Someday I want to be in the 400 club and beat my dad.

Mike San Miguel
Total Birds: 260 NIB
Is there a more stunningly beautiful place in S California than the north coast of the County or the remote eastern plains? I think not and the reason I don't have a larger SLO list is the long drive from my home in Arcadia. During a calm, chilly dusk in March 1964 I was birding with my mentor Dave DeSante at a remote ranch in the Carizzo Plains when we found an adult California Condor sitting on a stump. It struggled to take flight in an attempt to get away but without the thermals it must have for flight it became exhausted and eventually give up. Seeming to trust that we meant it no harm it sat calmly on the ground as we approached. I had the best looks I knew I would ever have at such a magnificent creature. That experience, among many in those formative days, began my intense love of birds that continues to this day. I count Reddish Egret, Little Curlew, Arctic Warbler and Painted Redstart among the best birds I have seen in SLO but none of those tops my experience with the Condor all those years ago.
Editor's note: Mike tragically died doing what he loved best, birding. I keep his name here in memoriam.

Gjon Hazard
Total Birds: 238 NIB
Gjon's Comments: Gotta be one of the state's best counties, wish I could get there more often. Best find: Painted Bunting (2nd County Record) September 29, 1988, Montana de Oro.

Steve Rovell
Total Birds: 230 NIB
Steve's Comments: Just like John Sterling and Don Roberson, I too, live outside SLO County. I don't visit often, usually just when something rare shows up and my teaching and family schedules allow it. In my few visits, I have managed to see a few rarities, including Golden-winged Warbler, Painted Redstart and Arctic Warbler. My best find is a Least Flycatcher. I don't like seeing the "1" in front of my county total, so expect me to contact some of you for tips on where to go and maybe even to go birding. I'm still waiting for one of your Royal Terns to make its way up to Monterey County. That would be something!
Editor's note: Steve also has 417 birds for Monterey County!

Don Roberson
Total Birds: 204 NIB
Don's Comments: I've never lived in SLO and have only rarely visited, yet have had the good luck to find or co-find two great SLO birds: Short-tailed Albatross and Red-tailed Tropicbird. Incidentally, had I seen Wild Turkey in SLO, I would included that on my NIB list. The evidence supports the proposition that Wild Turkey was once native in northern & central California's oak forests, and is thus a re-introduced native bird (more like Peregrine than like all the clearly non-native IBs). See this page on my website for more details.
Editor's note: Don also has 451 birds for Monterey County!