Today's chases, and a surprise group of EVENING GROSBEAKS at Stockton Rural Cemetery


I went to Oak Grove Park in Ripon this morning to look for Lawrence's Goldfinch. It was a good thing I ran into John Harris or I might have missed the target. While John and I talked in the parking lot a female Lawrence's flew in and started singing. There may have been a male with her, I saw another bird drop out of the tree just as I brought my bins up onto the female, but we never saw the second bird again, and the female flew off to parts unknown when I was trying to find her in the scope. I ran into Henry and Tod after John left, they told me later they did not find the Lawrence's.

Next I went to Stockton Rural Cemetery to look for Band-tailed Pigeons. I made a full circuit of the cemetery and did not find any Band-tails. BUT, while I was looking for hummers in the large euc SE of the office I turned around and was surprised, ne shocked, to see an female EVENING GROSBEAK high in an oak. A few seconds later I spotted a male. I played the call to try to get them to move into better light and four of them flew across the road and perched in a large dead tree at 37.97833691953588, -121.28636585029038, across from this marker

They had moved before I left and I did not see them again. I ran into John Robinson a few hours later and he told me he had tried for them 20 minutes after I had submitted my ebird list (which I had done before leaving the cemetery) and did not find them.

Next I drove to Mokelumne Day Use below Camanche Dam, but it was closed, so I drove a few roads in the eastern part of the county. Johnson, East Acampo and Cord Roads did not turn up anything of note. But on Waverly Road, where I went to once again look for Mountain Bluebirds, I had two WHIMBREL with two separate flocks of curlew, possibly as many as three Merlins and two Burrowing Owls. The owls were at opposite ends of the cliff across from the corral just north of Flood Road.
Happy birding, and, as always, may the light be with you,
Ralph Baker, Riverbank, CA