Ferruginous Hawks, and other birds

Tim Bray

10 September 2021 - I went to the Garcia River hoping for some "difficult Fall warblers" but the northerly wind apparently moved them all out. As consolation, a gorgeous Ferruginous Hawk circled over us a couple of times.  Later in the day we saw another FEHA at Stoneboro Road, along with five Red-tailed Hawks. It seems really early for Ferruginous Hawk here.

Red-tails are clearly migrating and we saw at least twice as many today as we did last week, including several juveniles. One such was an intriguing bird: it seemed smaller than most, had a clear throat and chest, an obvious belly-band, but barely discernible patagial bars (I could not be sure I was seeing them at all), a pale supercilium and malar (like juvenile Swainson's), and a pale rump. Did not have the pointed wings of Swainson's. It's a RTHA until proven otherwise but I wonder if there was some interspecific hanky-panky in its parentage.

At the Navarro River there was a pretty juvenile Bonaparte's Gull at the east end of the island.  Not unexpected at this time of year but fun to watch. Nearby were four Short-billed Dowitchers.

At Elk, south of Gunderson Rock a big feeding frenzy was going on, with hundreds of Brown Pelicans, Gulls, Cormorants, and a small flock of Shearwaters (probably Sooty but too far away to be sure). The action was spread over several hundred yards of ocean. There has been a lot of that going on recently; the nearshore waters are full of anchovies and jacksmelt. Brown Pelicans clearly had a successful breeding season down south, as the ratio of juveniles to adults seems to be at least 2:1.

Clay-colored Sparrow Old Smith Ranch Trail

Roger Adamson

Clay-colored Sparrow seen today along the Ten Mile River, on the Old Smith
Ranch Trail. Very clean gray nape, central crown stripe, fairly dark
post-ocular, strong malar & moustachial markings. Photos on eBird list.

The Old Smith Ranch Trail (from about a quarter mile south of Ten Mile
River Bridge) goes down to the river's edge and should become a favorite
birding location. It has a nice mix of habitat and also gives access to
the River mouth. Check it out. Thanks to Mendocino Land Trust for
establishing it.


Eastern Kingbird Lake Cleone

Roger Adamson

We refound the Eastern Kingbird about 2pm this afternoon. We watched it for about an hour catching dragonflies and bathing. With a scope it was visible from the Lake Cleone parking area about 150 yds east along the north shore of the lake. The boardwalk to that area is in very poor condition but passable.
Photos on the eBird list:
 Also at the lake we watched a Sora swimming in the open and a Virginia Rail came to see what we were doing. This morning we had a juvenile Wilson’s Snipe at the Caspar pond, where three Red-necked Phalarope continue. 
Roger Adamson & Chris Lamoreux

FOS Wilson's Snipe, Virgin Creek

Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker)

This morning I got a Wilson's Snipe foraging along Virgin Creek. Attached
is a rather horrible photo but at least you can tell what it is

Also present -

Savannah Sparrows
Brown-headed Cowbirds
Brewer's Blackbirds
Greater Yellowlegs
13 Marbled Godwits
Least Sandpipers
Western Sandpipers
Semipalmated Plovers
Black Turnstones
Black Phoebes
American Pipit
Black Oystercatchers
California Gulls
Western Gulls
Brown Pelicans
Surf Scoters
Two large-ish flocks of a Cormorant species flying offshore heading north
Heermann's Gulls
Peregrine Falcon
a single Wandering Tattler at the extreme north side of the beach
Spotted Sandpipers
Turkey Vultures
Common Ravens

On the Enchanted Forest Trail were:

American Goldfinches
Cedar Waxwings
Purple Finches (feeding juveniles)
California Scrub Jays
American Robins
Common Ravens
Swainson's Thrushes
Chestnut-backed Chickadees
Pygmy Nuthatches
Acorn Woodpeckers
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
European Starlings
Eurasian Collared Doves
Anna's Hummingbirds

Happy Birding!

Lisa D Walker-Roseman,
Fort Bragg-Cleone

Eastern Kingbird

Roger Adamson

Chris Lamoreux reports an Eastern Kingbird on the boardwalk north west corner of Lake Cleone.

ROger Adamson
For Chris L.

Yellow-rumped and Townsend's Warblers, Irish Beach

Tim Bray

5 September 2021 - Near the pond at Irish Beach ("Pomo Lake") we found two Yellow-rumped Warblers, our first for the season, foraging in coyote brush. Both were Audubon's with bright yellow throats, one a male still retaining the bluish color and the other a female. In the alder trees downstream from the dam there was a female-type Townsend's Warbler, also my first of fall, and at least one Yellow Warbler.

Also nearby were two Willow Flycatchers, one at the pond and one in the gully downstream from the dam. Those seem to be everywhere right now.

About 20 Barn Swallows were flying around and resting on a nearby house, until a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew overhead and sent them all into the air while making alarm calls.


Re: FOS Fox Sparrow - Ten Mile

Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker)

The Empid flycatcher was a WILLOW FLYCATCHER :)

FOS Fox Sparrow - Ten Mile

Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker)

This morning along the Ten Mile River my friend Kevin Giusti and I saw:

hundreds of Brown Pelicans
at least ten Great Egrets
five Great Blue Herons
Seven or more Common Mergansers
two Hooded Merganser immature male and female
dozens of Red-necked Phalaropes
a smallish flock of what appeared to be mixed Greenwinged Teal and
Northern Pintail Ducks
A Peregrine Falcon harassing the phalaropes and later, the Common
Northern Harrier, immature
Red-shouldered Hawk
Turkey Vultures
Common Ravens
Western and Least Sandpipers
Song Sparrows
two First of Season (FOS) Fox Sparrows
an Empid flycatcher that I have yet to identify (it did not have a huge
tear-drop-shaped eye ring like a Pacific-slope, was grayer overall and had
dark wings with two wide and very prominent wing-bars that were slightly
buffy in appearance) - have sent photos to Tim Bray for a hopeful ID
heard several Virginia Rails, too
Canada Geese
Anna's Hummingbirds

The swallows and martins appear to have left for the season

Happy Birding!

Lisa D Walker-Roseman

PS. There may have been other birds....

Warblers at Ledford House

Tim Bray

4 September 2021 - This morning in spite of the dense fog we found some birds around the small pond at the Ledford House. Two Common Yellowthroats, one Wilson's Warbler, and one "difficult Fall warbler" that I could not identify. It appeared olive-backed (but the fog and gray light may have affected that) and yellow underneath, with a very prominent eye-ring. There was a hint of streaks on its chest. I couldn't see the undertail pattern. Kind of like an Orange-crowned with a big eye-ring and no eye-line... which doesn't really match up with anything in my books. It didn't give me very good looks as it foraged in some willows, into which it quickly disappeared.

Also present were two (2) Willow Flycatchers, about 20 American Goldfinches and at least one Lesser Goldfinch, and one bright and crisp Savannah Sparrow. For a small pond it was a happening place.

No Ruff-it’s a Pec

Roger Adamson

The sandpiper in the Caspar pond is a Pectoral, not a Ruff. Sorry for the wrong report. After checking my photos more carefully I see it is a Pectoral Sandpiper. Ouch!


Ruff Caspar Pond

Roger Adamson

Aug 30
Chris Lamoreux found a juvenile Ruff at the Caspar Pond on Fern Creek Road today. Still there at 4:45.

Roger Adamson
For Chris

Re: Long billed thrasher in Upper Lake

Dave Bengston


Long-billed Thrasher would be a mega-rarity in Lake or Mendo.  Yes, we do have a similar common bird in Lake and Mendo.  It is the California Thrasher common in much of California.  We have it in Cow Mt. In Mendo and Lake and I have seen the Thrasher in Lake over by Clear Lake SP and in through Scott’s Valley, and south of Blue Lakes. Some of the folks in Lake County can give you much more information on locations in Lake.

Thank you for reporting it!

Dave Bengston
Peregrine Audubon Society
Ukiah, CA

On Aug 29, 2021, at 7:36 PM, karydairy <lynne@...> wrote:

Hi Mendo birders,
 I moved from Redwood Valley to Upper Lake, in Lake County.
I was surprised to see a long billed trasher here today.It was drinking from a leak at a water faucet on our farm in the hills.
Is there a similar group as mendo birds in Lake County. ?

pale/leucistic Black Oystercatcher still at Mendocino Headlands

Shannon Underhill

I'm not sure if a light gray Black Oystercatcher counts as leucistic or not, but it's still on the offshore rock at the Mendocino Headlands. It appears to have a healthy set of feathers at the moment. See attached pictures of the resting bird. 

Also, I briefly saw a pair of Western Kingbirds on a path nearby--unfortunately, I didn't have my camera at the time. 


Shannon Underhill

Long billed thrasher in Upper Lake


Hi Mendo birders,
 I moved from Redwood Valley to Upper Lake, in Lake County.
I was surprised to see a long billed trasher here today.It was drinking from a leak at a water faucet on our farm in the hills.
Is there a similar group as mendo birds in Lake County. ?

tiny hummingbird

Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker)

Hi, all!

There has been for the last two days, a super tiny hummingbird at my
feeders, being chased off by an adult male Anna's. So far I haven't been
able to get photos but the little one was back just a few moments ago,
affording some OK looks but still no photo because it's too dark... but I
think it might be a Calliope. I am hoping to stage up tomorrow sometime for
a photo...

Lisa D Walker-Roseman, Fort Bragg-Cleone

Chipping Sparrows, Albion

Tim Bray

27 August 2021 - Three Chipping Sparrows visited our pond at lunchtime, got drinks and left. Two were still in juvenile plumage and one was a match for first-winter.
This is the second time I've seen CHSP at our little backyard pond.

8 Ruddy Turnstones, 23 Marbled Godwits Ward Ave

Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker)

A I was meandering up the beach from Ward Ave, I spotted five Ruddy
Turnstones. They headed north along the shore and landed with two more
Ruddy Turnstones.... I got the 8th one on my return walk - it was hanging
out with a Black Turnstone on some rocks not far from the end of the
parking lot trail - sort of between that steep trail and the tunnel. 20
Marbled Godwits were foraging just south of the first large outlet creek
(which is dry), and three more were foraging closest to the end of the
parking lot steep trail. I also saw a Baird's Sandpiper foraging with two
Red-necked Phalaropes on the beach.

There were several Western and Least Sandpipers and a few juvenile
Sanderlings along with adults molting out of their breeding plumage

Ever-present were Common Ravens, Western Gulls, California Gulls, Black
Oystercatchers, and Brown Pelicans diving just offshore.

Conspicuously absent were larger numbers of Black Turnstones and not a
single Wandering Tattler or Surfbird.

Either way, the shorebird migration is on.

The other day at Virgin Creek, I found a single Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Happy Birding!


Caspar Pond and other coastal spots

Tim Bray

26 August 2021 - The Caspar Pond was buzzing with activity today.  About 14 Red-necked Phalaropes - a mix of juveniles, partially-molted males, and some adults in winter plumage - were flying actively around the pond, along with some Barn Swallows and at least one Tree Swallow. The Phalaropes were flying around so much I called them Swallaropes.
A Willow Flycatcher was foraging in and from a Wax Myrtle between the road and the pond.
Three (at least) Cedar Waxwings were sallying out from the Wax Myrtles on the east side of the pond.
Two Yellow Warblers - first I've seen this fall - were foraging in the willows on the far (north) side. Difficult to see clearly even with a scope as the wind was beginning to move air, but with a lot of staring I was able to rule out the other bright yellow warbler species.
Things got a lot quieter when a hatch-year Sharp-shinned Hawk zipped in and made a futile pass at either a Phalarope or a Barn Swallow (probably the latter).

Off the Pomo Bluffs there was a fairly large mixed flock of Gulls, Pelicans, and Murres feeding on a school of baitfish a few hundred yards offshore. At one point a Sooty Shearwater soared in to check out the scene before heading back out to sea. The Murres included several apparent juveniles that have already learned to dive - unless they were actually Scripps's Murrelets, which would be very unusual this close to shore. Difficult to be certain as the sea was choppy and the wind was making the air shimmer.

Yesterday in the Navarro River estuary there were three brown Wood Ducks, four brown Green-winged Teal, several brown probable-Pintails, and a bunch of brown probable-Mallards. Yes, it's Brown Duck Season.


Caspar Pond Phalaropes

Jessica Morton

Seen Friday around 1:45 at Caspar Pond, 2 non-breeding/juvenile Red-Necked Phalarope zipping around at the east edge of the pond.
(Seven others were seen at Pudding Creek beach inlet this past Wednesday afternoon).

Re: Hooded Merganser, juvenile

Shannon Underhill


I can’t answer your general question, but I saw a Hooded Merganser juvenile at Ten Mile and a week later at Virgin Creek. That was about one month ago.

Shannon Underhill

Two Bears Remodeling LLC

On Aug 19, 2021, at 9:29 AM, Lisa D. Walker, (Feather Forestwalker) <> wrote:

Hi, all... do we know what the breeding status is for Hooded Mergansers on
the Mendocino coast? I found a juvenile on Ten Mile River yesterday
morning, so was curious.....

Lisa D Walker-Roseman, Fort Bragg-Cleone


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