Early Blue Grosbeak, Marsh Creek Rd.


Ethan Monk
 

This morning on private property near where Marsh Creek Rd. intersects Camino Diablo, I had one male Blue Grosbeak which I watched for a short time while it called from atop a dying cottonwood at about 50 feet distance. Despite this being an unusual location for Blue Grosbeak (my first in this area, although only a mile or two from where they breed) this is one of the earliest dates for this species in Contra Costa and perhaps all of Northern California. Perhaps record early for Contra Costa. The bird was never photographed--shortly after I tracked down the calling bird it was flushed by the rancher, and after my conversation with him I left the area at his request, as they were about to bring cattle through.

Some on-time sightings I've had recently included my first of season Hammond's Flycatcher and Calliope Hummingbird on Red Rd. in Mitchell Canyon, Friday the 9th, as well as a notable Golden-crowned Kinglet. Despite the dry winter, Jersey and Bethel Islands are unusually wet, with several flooded pastures on both islands. Last week at least Sunday-Thursday, Bethel Island held a pair of male Eurasian Wigeon, and Sunday ~350 ibis flew over. That same morning I found 80 ibis on Jersey Island, and later in the week other birders reported several hundred ibis there (Emmett Iverson & Logan Kahle, Derek Heins). It seems ibis are growing more common in the delta each year. Thursday on Jersey Island, I missed ibis despite counts of several hundred just two days before, but ~60 dowitchers and 2 lesser yellowlegs were a rare sight in a section of valley floor/delta that has sorely missed shorebird habitat the past couple of Springs.

good birding,
Ethan Monk