Rock Sandpipers et al.

George Chaniot

Thu, 22 Feb 2001 -- Dorothy Tobkin reports 4 ROCK SANDPIPERS at Laguna
Point among Surfbirds and Black Turnstones on a big rock to the north about
halfway from the parking lot to the point. She also saw 11 HARLEQUIN DUCKS
at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg.
Ollie Kolkmann also saw a SABINE'S GULL from Laguna Point on Sun,
18 Feb.
The MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS are still on Pine Ave., Potter Valley, and
yesterday I saw another male about 5 miles to the north in the fields just
before Eel River Road starts up the hill. Near the summit of the hill
MOUNTAIN QUAIL were "quarking", the first I've heard this year, and there
was an AMERICAN DIPPER singing at Van Arsdale Dam.

On 24 Oct 2000 I saw a radio-collared Greater White-fronted Goose
on the vineyard pond near my home in Potter Valley. Since it was much
larger than two other GWFG with it, I took it to be a "Tule" Goose. Today I
heard back that V69 is indeed a Tule GWFG and was banded as an adult female
in the Kahiltna River drainage 75 mile NW of Anchorage, Alaksa on 8 July
1997. So she was at least four years old when sighted and pretty well
travelled. Thanks again to Dr. Paul Springer for forwarding the information
to the right people.

Today I put on my website a copy of my list of the birds of Potter
Valley, CA. It lists all of the species I am aware of ever occuring here
and abundance codes for each month of the year. You can view it at the
following URL:

-- George Chaniot, Potter Valley, CA

Potter Valley List


I sent George a direct e-mail, then remembered this forum is open.
His new Potter Valley List is simply great and well worth extensive
perusal. The pages load very quickly, especially when you return to
them for a second or third look.
Pass the word to everybody who likes birds.
I hope he doesn't mind that I'll be trying to find additions to his

Mendocino Coast 2/25

George Chaniot

Sun, 25 Feb 2001 -- After getting rained out yesterday, Matthew Matthiessen
and I birded the coast from Arena Cove to Ward Avenue. Some of the
highlights from south to north: the LAYSAN ALBATROSS in Arena Cove, 10
lighthouse, a EURASIAN WIGEON and PEREGRINE FALCON near Miner Hole Road,
~200 TUNDRA SWANS on the Garcia flats, a PRAIRIE FALCON and a FERRUGINOUS
HAWK north of Irish Beach at mm 26.92, another PEREGRINE FALCON at the
Mendocino Headlands, an ANCIENT MURRELET, 25 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS, and a
THAYER'S GULL at Laguna Point, and 8 BLACK SCOTERS at Ward Avenue. We saw
more White-winged and Black Scoters each than Surf Scoters today. -- George

Greater Sand Plover, Tufted Duck . . . Update

Matt Williams

I got to Stinson Beach around 2:00 PM on Sunday (high tide had been at
about 11:40 AM) and things looked bleak until just before 4:00 PM. The
TUFTED DUCK was nowhere to be seen and the 50 or so people there to see
the Greater Sand Plover were all feeling pretty discouraged. With the
multitude of scopes we could see a large group of BLACK BELLIED PLOVERS
on the sand bar across the lagoon. There was at least one plover smaller
than all the rest, but it was too far to see the important field marks.
It looked as if they were going to stay on that sand bar for good when
someone yelled out "I've got it!!!!" and there on the close in mud
flats, visible to the naked eye and definitely ID-able with binoculars
was the GREATER SAND PLOVER . The crowd went from the depths to the
heights, and a number of residents came from their houses to see (I'm
sure the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle article heightened their
interest). There were great comparison views as the Plover walked among
groups of DUNLIN. After watching the plover for about a half hour I
went down to the end of the street and got a great look at the male CAPE
MAY WARBLER in the bottlebrush tree, and then went back to the other
side of the lagoon (at milepost 13.5 of Route 1) and saw the male TUFTED
DUCK mixed in with about a dozen GREEN-WINGED TEAL and half a dozen
PINTAILS right by the shoreline. Further up Route 1 was a group of 9
male and 5 female EURASIAN WIDGEONS visible with the naked eye from the
side of the road.

Those are just the highlights. If you go this week, I would get there
around 3:00 PM. It is well worth the trip.

Western Meadowlarks

Feather Forestwalker <feather@...>

Today, my son and I spotted close to a dozen WESTERN MEADOWLARKS in
various plumage states, from fall-winter and juvenile to spring, in the
field right next to McDonald's on Highway One south of Fort Bragg. There
were several singing, perching on pines on the very tops as well as
foraging on the ground. Mixed in this flock were several European
Starlings, English Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows.

Also in this same location were a few Hermit Thrushes.

The storm is raging over here, lots of wind and rain, and the ocean is
very choppy with the tide being very high and the waves are cresting at
almost 20 feet. Be careful out there, shore-birders!


Forestwalker Productions

Bird Cards, Bird T-shirts, Bird Drawings, Bird Stories

Proceeds help in the rehabilitation and return to the wild, of our
feathered friends on the northern Calfornia coast.

Mountain Bluebirds

vishnu <vishnu@...>

This is out of our area but on the chance someone is heading towards
Sacramento for some reason this could be a treat. I'm re-posting it from
the Bluebird list-serv (with the author's permission and he can give
directions if requested). Vishnu

Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2001 00:44:29 -0500
From: Derek Cragin <derekc@...>
To: Bluebird Mailing List <BLUEBIRD-L@...>
Subject: Mountain Bluebirds Galore!

This sight is one to behold: 125+ Mountain Bluebirds are being seen
in the fields around Road 27 outside of Woodland (near Sacramento).
Other birders have seen them as well, and they are absolutely
glorious. The weather these past few days has been overcast, very windy,
and very rainy, so they weren't seen then. But during the beautiful
days, oh, it is just quite the sight. Many of them are males, which
makes it even more beautiful. Some days 90 are seen, others around 150.
But at any rate, the amount isn't the point, the beauty makes it
And to see them in the field, with the Vacaville foothills and
snow-tipped mountains in the distance, blue sky above, and
blackish-brown agricultural field as the background makes it even
For those of you, if any, in the area, it is well worth the drive to
see them. Ask me for directions if you'd like to go.
-Derek Cragin ~ Sacramento area, California

March 5 - Lake Mendocino Gulls

Robert Keiffer <rjkeiffer@...>

Last Monday, March 5th, there was quite a bunch of gulls at the south boat ramp. The first winter Thayer's Gull is still there, 2 Herring Gulls, 10-20 Ring-billed Gulls, and a multitude of California Gulls.

Hummers and Fame


Front page! Bob, Chuck and Ollie have had their Warhol 15 minutes.
Anyone else experiencing exceptional voraciousness at their
hummingbird feeders? Maybe migrants are ahead of nectar sources or
something else is going on, but my usual three or four day filling
cycle has become daily. Sometimes they start to feed before I can
even hang the thing up.

early arrivals

Chuck & Barbara Vaughn

Jim Armstrong and I were talking, and there is apparently some general interest in tracking early arrivals of some of our regular migrants. I have kept a database over the years with dates going back to the 60s which Ollie Kolkmann has provided me. George Chaniot also has lots of early arrival data. is what I have so far this year of birds which I am quite certain were not winter residents. Please let me know if you have earlier dates and be sure to provide dates for birds which haven't shown up yet so I can keep the Mendocino County database current.

Thanks, Chuck Vaughn

Tree Swallow 2/4 at USTP
Violet-green Swallow 2/18 at USTP
Allen's Hummingbird 2/28 at my feeders
Northern Rough-winged Swallow 3/11 at USTP
Orange-crowned Warbler 3/12 at HREC

Chuck and Barbara Vaughn
1550 Deerwood Drive
Ukiah, CA 95482


re early arrivals

Chuck & Barbara Vaughn

Sorry, but I neglected to mention on my previous post that the database on early arriving migrants is only for inland Mendocino County. At this point it does not include anything from the coast, west of the Russian River watershed, or north of Willits.


Chuck and Barbara Vaughn
1550 Deerwood Drive
Ukiah, CA 95482


Red-breasted Merganser in Clear Lake

George Chaniot

Sorry for the delayed report, but on March 11 I saw a male
Red-breasted Merganser in Clear Lake near milemarker 20.5 on Highway 20.

George Chaniot
Potter Valley, MEN, CA

Snowy Plover wearing bands

Patti Brill <starfish@...>

At sunset on Feb 24 at the mouth of 10 Mile I saw a group of Snowy Plovers, about 14-20 in all. A few came within 15 feet of the log I was sitting on. One had two bands on its right leg: Blue on top, red under. Left leg had 3 bands: yellow or orange on top, with two red under. I left a message on Tina Fabula's machine at the Park headquarters, but I never heard back from her. This is the first banded bird I have seen out in the field.

Clay-colored Sparrow in Potter Valley

George Chaniot

Sun, 18 Mar 2001 -- At 9:30 this morning I found a CLAY-COLORED SPARROW on
Pine Avenue in Potter Valley. It was in a flock of White-crowned Sparrows
that frequents the farm machinery at the Tiara Ranch about 1/3 mile from
East Road. Prominent crown stripe, light lores, ear patch, and tan rump.
There was another _Spizella_ present, but I could not get a good enough
look to ID it.
Around Potter Valley this morning there was also a Merlin on Pine
Avenue, no Mountain Bluebirds seen today, and another Merlin and a Lewis's
Woodpecker at the end of Burris Lane.
Along Potter Valley Road there was an American Dipper carrying
nesting material under the old bridge, another dipper carrying nesting
material at mm 0.75, and yet another dipper singing near mm 0.89. -- George



George didn't see, forgot to mention or didn't think important the
five Double-crested Cormorants at the Burris Lane pond Sunday. I also
had a pair of Ring-necked Pheasants on Burris Lane on Thursday and a
pair of Great Blue Herons fly over my house Sunday. Jim Armstrong

Spring Arrival Dates

George Chaniot

With a major infusion of data from Chuck Vaughn, I have put together a
list of the early arrival dates for some migrant and summer resident birds.
These are the earliest spring dates recorded over a period of some years.
In most years, of course, they usually arrive somewhat after this date.
The geographical area covered is the interior valleys and ranges of
Mendocino County from about Willits south to Hopland and the Sonoma county
line, including Potter Valley. Roughly, the SE quarter of the county. We
are in need of better information on some sparse migrant species
(MacGillivray's Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Olive-sided Flycatcher, et al.)
and for the primarily montane species (Flammulated Owl, Green-tailed
Towhee, Hammond's and Dusky Flycatcher, et al.). The higher areas of the
county are little explored in this season.
I have also put this data on the web at
with some similar data from a subarea, Potter Valley, at
Thirdly, I have created a database at the Mendobirds homepage where we can
accumulate information on arrivals as the spring season unfolds. Go to
and choose "database" from the lefthand column. Any subscriber can enter
new data, edit entries, correct my spelling, or write over information
already there. (Someone may want to edit my Rufous Hummingbird entry. ). I
have included columns for the coast separate from the interior, as I know
there are some differences in timing of migration. Does anyone have similar
historical data from the coast that they would like to contribute?
Well, eight have returned, only thirty-two to go.
George Chaniot

04 Feb Tree Swallow
13 Feb Violet-green Swallow
14 Feb Orange-crowned Warbler
28 Feb Allen's Hummingbird
03 Mar Rufous Hummingbird
03 Mar N. Rough-winged Swallow
05 Mar Common Yellowthroat
07 Mar Cliff Swallow
07 Mar Pacific-slope Flycatcher
09 Mar Chipping Sparrow
12 Mar House Wren
12 Mar Western Tanager
13 Mar Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
17 Mar Bullock's Oriole
19 Mar Barn Swallow
20 Mar Cassin's Vireo
20 Mar Warbling Vireo
22 Mar Lazuli Bunting
22 Mar Greater Yellowlegs
25 Mar Western Kingbird
30 Mar Green Heron
01 Apr Wilson's Warbler
02 Apr Black-throated Gray Warbler
03 Apr Black-headed Grosbeak
08 Apr Calliope Hummingbird
15 Apr Vaux's Swift
19 Apr Purple Martin
19 Apr Yellow Warbler
21 Apr Yellow-breasted Chat
22 Apr Hermit Warbler
24 Apr Western Wood-Pewee
26 Apr MacGillivray's Warbler
06 May Swainson's Thrush
06 May Olive-sided Flycatcher
? Nashville Warbler
? Western Sandpiper
? Green-tailed Towhee
? Flammulated Owl
? Hammond's Flycatcher
? Dusky Flycatcher


vishnu <vishnu@...>

Sunday morning 3/25/01 Vishnu observed at the Ukiah oxidation ponds 10
pair of green winged teal. Also seen were a pair of greater yellow legs,
a white-tailed kite, several common snipe, a pair of american widgeon,
3 swallow species - RWSW, VGSW & TRSW - and an osprey (enjoying a
Sunday brunch).

(Mendobirds) Merlin

Feather Forestwalker <feather@...>

Hi, everyone!

My son and I saw an adult male Merlin attacking a European Starling this
afternoon near the Dodge dealership on Chestnut Street in Fort Bragg
this afternoon. He was simply beautiful! He sat on the sidewalk with his
prize before flying, heavily, to land on the ground again in a nearby
yard before finally taking his heavy prey to the rooftop of some
apartments on South McPherson Street.


falcon territorial fighting

vishnu <vishnu@...>

Hello all, I recognize and apologize that this is OT ... but as many of us
are members of "Peregrine" Audubon the link below leads to a very
dramatic story of peregrines that took place last Friday and was recorded by
a web cam and eyewitnesses. Excellent photos including one of an egg heavy
female (though unfortunately she was the victim.). Vishnu

indigo bunting

Chuck & Barbara Vaughn

I observed an indigo bunting (Passerina cyanea) at 8:45am today, March
23, 2001. The observation occurred at Lake Cleone in MacKerricher State
Park just north of Fort Bragg, CA. The bird was observed on the La
Laguna trail on the north side of the lake in the cleared area at the
waterworks located on the edge of the lake. An indigo bunting was
observed 30 minutes later on the south side of Lake Cleone directly
across the lake from the waterworks. I could not determine if this was
the same individual located earlier.

Access sites by parking in the Lake Cleone parking lot in MacKerricher
State Park. Walk the trail encompassing the lake starting on the
boardwalk on the lake's northern shore.


David Lancaster

Chuck and Barbara Vaughn
1550 Deerwood Drive
Ukiah, CA 95482



Justin Ward <melodus@...>

Howdy Mendo birders
Yesterday (3/28/01) I saw a Long billed Curlew and a Red-necked
Grebe at the mouth of Inglenook creek on Ten-mile beach. It was about
08:30 and the Curlew just sat there for a moment before flying North
calling. The Red-necked Grebe was actively diving just behind the
Both Pigeon Guillemot and Caspian Tern were seen at numerous
locations this week on the coast.
Just a quick side note, today I saw 15 Osprey swarming the mouth of
the Russian river in Sonoma County. There was also a huge group of over
100 Cormorants (DCCO & PECO), 25 Loons (RTLO, COLO), 25+ Caspian terns
and hundreds of Gulls feeding in the same location.
Thats all for now, Good Luck and Good Birding.
Justin Ward