an exciting sight


For about 6 weeks I've been hearing and seeing a red-shouldered hawk. It was calling frequently and I thought it was probably a male trying to establish territory and/or attract a female. I hoped we'd end up with a nesting pair here at Round Mountain (NW of Ukiah, off of Parducci Rd).

Last Saturday, 2/22, I was riding my bike on our dirt road when I heard the calling again. I finally found the bird about 40 up in an oak. I trained my binoculars on her and soon I heard a melodious song-bird like call coming from her right. She turned her head, and almost immediately another hawk landed right next to her. He then climbed on top of her and they mated. It lasted for only 30 seconds or so. They sat quietly side by side and enjoyed the afterglow for about 7 seconds, whereupon they both flew off.

Questions: does anyone know whether they mate before having a nest established?
does anyone know whether hawks (or red-shouldered hawks) make melodious pre-mating gurglings?
I think I may have heard that sound again yesterday, just on the heels of a red-shouldered call.

The starling show has dwindled. On Sunday it was still beautiful but the numbers have decreased drastically. I wonder if starlings are no longer roosting collectively, now that it's breeding season. Or have they found another roosting spot. I saw a number of them flying west toward the foothills of Ukiah valley on Saturday.


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Mountain Bluebirds continue

George Chaniot

Wed, 26 Feb 2003 -- Yesterday I saw the MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS again at 4:30
pm. on Pine Ave., Potter Valley. Today I watched them from 9:00-9:45 as the
roved through much of the area visible from the set-back gate on the north
side about 3/4 mile from East Road. They were on the fences along the
creek, on the ground and rocks in the fields, the grape-stake fence along
Pine Ave., and the tops of the oaks along the creek and by the pullout. The
number appears to be 8 (4m,4f) possibly 9, but there is sometimes a Western
Bluebird or two with them when they fly up into the trees.

George Chaniot, Potter Valley, MEN, CA

crane etc

John Sterling <ani@...>

I took my family on a weekend vacation to the coast and was able to get a
little birding in. The Sandhill Crane was still at the Garcia River Bottoms
on Sunday--but was difficult to see during much of the time. There was a
male Eurasian Wigeon and several dozen Aleutian Canada Geese with the swans.
Hadn't birded Mendocino in about eight years.....but finally broke 275 for
the county.

no luck on the albatross or laughing gull or rock sandpiper......


John Sterling
26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 668-8694 (home office)
530 668-1985 (home)
916 737-3000 ext 3593 (Sacramento office)
916 752-0899 (cell phone)

Mountain Bluebirds in PtrV

George Chaniot

Mon, 24 Feb 2003, 08:15 -- This morning I found a group of 8 MOUNTAIN
BLUEBIRDS on Pine Avenue in Potter Valley. Initially they were sitting on
the fences near the set-back gate on the north side of the road about 3/4
mile from East Road, just before Pine Avenue goes down to cross Burright
Creek. They flew off and lit in a large oak on a knoll to the north. When I
returned an hour later there was a single male sitting in the top of an oak
along the creek. This is only 1/4 mile from the area where a group was
present 1 Feb to 2 Mar 2001. Up close they certainly were the bluest of
blues, even on a 'cloudy bright' day.
There was also a FERRUGINOUS HAWK conspicuous in the area, LEWIS'S
WOODPECKERS, a taiga MERLIN, and a SAY'S PHOEBE. Yesterday there were two
AMERICAN DIPPERS under the old bridge on Potter Valley Road, singing and
nest building.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Laughing Gull continues

George Chaniot

Sat, 15 Feb 2003 -- Roger Foote saw and photographed the Laughing Gull at
the upper parking lot at Lake Cleone. Check out the photos at
or at

Re: Grebe courtship


I would like to second Vishnu's report on the startling starling phantasmagoria ("a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined.") Watching them whirl and swoop, transforming instantly from clouds of evenly spaced birds to dense undulating mobius strips to exploding fireworks is especially beautiful against the pink sky to the east. And sometimes a bit of sun touches them, adding golden magic to the show. Looking up through layers of birds, with one level going one way and the next going another direction and a higher level heading yet another way can be quite mesmerizing.

I want to add that while the show started at 5:35 last night, it wasn't until almost 5:50 that two gigantic clouds of birds appeared in the east, swooping in from Lake County. So don't give up.

(I thought I sent this a couple of days ago, but I sent it only to Vishnu because I only replied rather than replying to all).

Short-eared Owl/Lake Co.

Dave Woodward <> <dlwoodward@...>

Hello Mendobirders,
Before 10am this morning I had great looks at a Short-eared Owl in
Anderson Marsh St. Park near Lower Lake. I first observed the bird
in flight about .4 mi W of the ranch house under overcast
conditions, however it is possible that my hike flushed the bird
into the air from the tall grass in Anderson Flat and I missed
seeing it fly off of the ground. It briefly landed within binocular
range before flying again to the NW where it landed in what appeared
to be taller grass and teasel still in Anderson Flat, but about a
half mile away.
Dave Woodward

American Dipper/Russian River

Robert J. Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

Sunday, 09 Feb 2003, 1:30 PM, Observed two American Dippers on the large rock directly across the Russian River from the mouth of Pieta Creek. The birds eventually flew downstream. I suspect that this may be the pair that has nested in the cave at the base of Squaw (Indian Maiden) Rock in the past. During periods of Russian River high flow (muddy) I suspect that these birds forage up Pieta Creek. Access to the mouth of Pieta Creek along Highway 101 (several miles south of Hopland) is easy, simply park off the main highway and walk down to the gravel bar... this is state property (even though it has an old No Trespass sign from a past over-zealous nearby landowner).

Robert J. Keiffer
Principal Supt. of Agriculture
UC Hopland Research & Extension Center
4070 University Road
Hopland, CA 95449
(707) 744-1424 FAX (707) 744-1040
HREC website:

Hull Mtn

Matt Brady <zerogambit@...>

Hello all. Against much advice, David Vander Pluym, Austin Booth and I headed up to Hull Mountain today. Although it was snowy at the summit, we could drive almost all the way to the top. Highlites included CASSIN'S FINCH, singing CALIFORNIA THRASHERS and a whole mess of LESSER and AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES (it sounded like more than 40 birds) before the turn-off to Hull Mountain, MOUNTAIN CHICKADEES and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES on the road up, and STELLER'S JAY, COMMON RAVEN and WESTERN BLUEBIRD around the summit. We also heard a Woodpecker's long call at the summit area that seemed likely to have been a White-headed Woodpecker's, but we never saw the bird. At Lake Pilsbury we saw Mallards and Bufflehead on the lake, 24 Tule Elk on the shore, and a large flock of AMERICAN PIPITS on the landing strip. Down in Potter Valley, we saw 2 LEWIS' WOODPECKER, 2 HOODED MERGANSERS, a few AMERICAN WIGEON and about 20 RING-NECKED DUCKS on the pond at the end of Burris Lane. Also present was a SNOWY EGRET, which wasn't listed on the bird list. Also, the Nuthatches at Montgomery Woods yesterday were Red-breasted, not White-breasted, as I said previously. Got them mixed up. Thanks again to everyone who responded to my request for info. Good birding,
Matt Brady

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Grebe courtship

vishnu <vishnu@...>

This evening at around 5pm at the northwestern end of Lake Mendocino among
a small mixed flock of ducks were 2 pair of - presumed Western as opposed to
Clark's - Grebes performing their courtship rituals. This included a pair
approaching each other from a distance of about 12-15 feet elaborately
bowing forward and from side to side with long outstreched necks and both in
unison. When the pair would then meet there was more bowing and the raising
of their bodies rather high out of the water (how?) and with necks
outstreched. Twice from this position and now "standing" side by side they
raced across the top of the water for about 10 feet before settling back in,
whereupon they more or less ignore each other for awhile.
Although I've seen this behaviour at Clear Lake before I'd never seen it at
Lake Mendocino.

Also, although it was my impression last week that the Starling numbers at
the Kyen Campgroundd roost were somewhat diminishing, a report by Kate
Marienchild from last Friday and the experience of 5 observers today is that
it is still as strong and fantastic as ever. The Starling arrival time this
evening was 5:35pm.

Montgomery Woods/Ft Bragg/Pt Arena

Matt Brady <zerogambit@...>

Today, David Vander Pluym, Austin Booth and I did some birding along the coast. We started at Montgomery Woods Sate Park at 6:45 am, where we heard a NORTHERN PYGMY OWL, 2 BARRED OWLS, a dozen MOUNTAIN QUAIL, and about 6 PILEATED WOODPECKERS. We saw the Barred Owls near the fallen log that has been cut up at about 7. Also around the grove were a few White-breasted Nuthatches.

From Montgomery Woods we went on to Glass Beach, where we were unsuccesful in looking for the Harlequin Ducks or Laughing Gull. We then went on to Mckerricher State Beach, where we found the LAUGHING GULL on the beach. We first observed it at 9:30, then again at 11:15. At about 11:25 it flew over to Lake Cleone. On Lake Cleone was a pair of GREATER SCAUP. Along the board walk near Laguna Point were 6 BARN SWALLOWS cruising around. They were pretty white below, which is apparently similar to birds being seen in Washington. Off the Point was a pair of RED-NECKED GREBES, a HEERMAN'S GULL, and aBROWN Pelican.

At Van Damme State Park a small flock of GRAY JAYS were frequenting a campsite just past the visitor's center.

At the Garcia Flats, we saw the TUNDRA SWANS, SANDHILL CRANE, dozens of ALEUTIAN GEESE, a few BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS, and aGREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. At the Point Arena Harbor the LAYSAN ALBATROSS was sitting out with some surfers. It even let a surfer apparoach to within just a couple of feet! We then headed out to the light house. Although we didn't see anything different out there, it looked like it could be a spot to check in the fall for vagrants. Do any ever show up out there? In many ways it looks like similar habitat to the Pt. Reyes area. From there we headed back to the Garcia River, where we hiked out to the River mouth. Access is at the end of Miners Hole Road, and requires rubber boots, as you have to ford the river and several muddy puddles. On the way out we saw a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK fly and land in a cow pasture. Out at the mouth was a large flock of gulls, including many Herring Gulls, our only individuals of the day. Off shore was an ANCIENT MURRELET, a MARBLED MURRELET, several NORTHERN FULMARS, and a HORNED GREBE. On the way back we saw 2 more BARN SWALLOWS flying around. The Garcia River mouth looks like another great spot that I haven't heard any reports from. There are extensivce flooded pastures that look like they might attract things like Baird's and Le Conte's Sparrows and Yellow Rails, and definately seems worth a check in Fall. Again, rubber boots areat the least necessary, and hip-waders recommended.

Tomorrow we're heading up past Lake Pilsbury in search of high elevation stuff, and I'll post on what we see tomorrow night.

Good birding
Matt Brady

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Continuing Laughing Gull - 2/8

Matthew Matthiessen <matthima@...>

Greetings Mendobirders,
This afternoon (2/8) the immature LAUGHING GULL was still at Lake
Cleone. Initially I located the bird on the beach just below the Haul
Rd at 1430. Shortly thereafter it flew over to Lake Cleone to beg for
handouts from picnicers. The bird flew back over to the west side of
the Haul Rd at 1500 and lit out on the ocean a couple hundred feet

Matthew Matthiessen
Ukiah, CA

Laughing Gull continues

George Chaniot

Fri, 07 Feb 2003 -- Toby reports seeing the 1st winter LAUGHING GULL at
1:00 p.m. at Lake Cleone by the picnic tables near the parking lot. She did
not see it there at 8:30 a.m. nor at Pudding Creek shortly after.

Brief report

John E Hunter


The Laughing Gull was begging for food with the other gulls at the mouth of
Pudding Creek on 2-4-03. There was a Red-necked Grebe at Laguna Point.

On 2-5-03 I saw an Ancient Murrelet from near the base of the Point Arena
Lighthouse. On the road out to the Lighthouse there was a cooperative
Bobcat enjoying the sun in a field. In the Garcia River Bottoms, the
Sandhill Crane was still present near the Tundra Swans and other waterfowl.
A Ferruginous Hawk was soaring overhead.

John E. Hunter
Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
1655 Heindon Road
Arcata, CA 95521
707-822-7201 (phone)
707-822-8136 (fax)

Laughing Gull

Charlene McAllister

At 2:30 this afternoon I located the LAGU on the trestle at Pudding
Creek. I then drove down to the end of Glass Beach Drive and walked to
the chain link barrier onto the trestle where the gull was only about 10
feet away. Nice looks.

Charlene McAllister
P.O. Box 332
Little River, CA 95456

RFI: High elevation stuff

Matt Brady <zerogambit@...>

Hi all. I'm planning on taking a couple of birding friends back home this weekend to look for some of the stuff that has been seen along the coast recently, and would like a little help with some other things, namely high elevation birds and Owls. What sort of birds would be up around the Hull Mountain/Mount Sanhedrin this time of year? I'm assuming things like White-headed Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee, Blue Grouse and Townsend's Solitaire will be around. Is there anything else we should keep an eye out for up there? Does anyone have any suggestions on where to go to see these or other good high elevation birds? Also, we're interested in looking for the Barred Owls at Montgomery Woods. Has anyone seen or heard them lately? Thanks in advance for any information you can give. Also, if you'd like to go birding with three sharp young (we're 20, 19, and 18) birders, you'd be more than welcome to come along. Just drop me an email.

Good birding
Matt Brady
UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

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Laughing Gull Refound

George Chaniot

Mon, 3 Feb 2003 -- At 11:35 Dorothy Tobkin refound the LAUGHING GULL at
Lake Cleone where it was discovered on Feb 1. On the 1st it was found
about 1:00 and seen until about 4:30, if there is any pattern to its
movements to be discovered yet. On the 2nd it was not at Lake Cleone at
07:00 or 2:00, and was refound on the trestle bridge at Pudding Creek at

Laughing Gull

les_lieurance <> <skuaaaa@...>

Thanks to MendoBirds and then Toby's birdbox message we had a great
day on your north coast. Cindy refound the Laughing Gull in Ft.
Bragg at the mouth of Pudding Creek about 9am. It spent time
preening on the old wooden trestle bridge with other gulls. Several
times it flew down to the creek to bathe.

We left more info on sightings and a video still of the gull on

Les & Cindy Lieurance
San Francisco

Laysan Albatross & Sandhill Crane

les_lieurance <> <skuaaaa@...>

Today in Mendocino County, Cindy and I saw the Laysan Albatross at
Arena Cove about 3pm. There were also 2 Red-necked Grebes. Then, at
the Garcia River flats off Miner Hole Road the Sandhill Crane was
still present as were at least 3 Eurasian Wigeon and about 250 Tundra
Swans and some Canada Geese.

Best birding,

Les & Cindy Lieurance
San Francisco

Van Damme

Dennis Braddy <braddy@...>


The Boy Scouts camped across from the visitor's center at Van Damme State
Park were feeding the birds this morning. The GRAY JAYS that we drove 3
hours to see were everywhere.

A nearby tree was filled with dozens of grooming PINE SISKINS. Also seen
from the visitor's center were CALIFORNIA QUAIL (shoulder-to-shoulder on an
elevated feeder), ACORN WOODPECKER, STELLER'S JAY (terrorizing the quail),

A few minutes of birding past the last occupied campsite yielded several
Winter Wrens sang beautifully.

Dennis and Patricia Braddy
San Ramon

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