Cosumnes birds of modest note in the last week or so

Glennah Trochet

Dear Birders,

Last Friday the 5th I got a chance to visit Howard Ranch in far southeastern Sacramento County.  The exhausting day's highlights were two bobcats.  The second had coloring that endorsed as accurate the use of rufus as the specific epithet.  Two mourning cloaks were my first leps of the year.  I spent most of the day turning down logs in pursuit of herps, mostly without success.  Because I spent almost all day in wooded country with my head down, my bird list was not terrific:
ferruginous hawk-  1
Lewis's woodpecker-  39
pine siskin-  5
rufous-crowned sparrow-  1

I went by the spot that had a Steller's jay in mid-December but I didn't find it.  I didn't get to the other spots with interesting birds on that outing.  Unlike in December, the vernal pools all had water.

On Saturday the 6th I visited behind the Tall Forest and vicinity.  It was a short visit owing to lingering fatigue.  The few mentionables include:
varied thrush-  1
purple finch-  8
white-throated sparrow-  1
Townsend's warbler-  1

On Sunday I did the monthly Lost Slough bird survey.  There were a decent variety and decent numbers of waterfowl.  But excepting only yellow-rumped warblers, birds of brush and trees were hard to come by.  The day's highlights were these:
blue morph snow goose-  5 (6600+/- snows altogether)
blue-winged teal-  3
hooded merganser-  2
peregrine falcon-  2

There is a great horned owl nest that is currently visible from the small wooden deck on the west side of Franklin Boulevard west of the preserve Visitor Center.  From the deck, look south west (about 30 degrees west of south) and you'll see a nest in a cottonwood tree.  The sitting owl is visible with binoculars, but a scope really helps since the tree is 350-400 meters away.

Today I visited the Tall Forest and vicinity again.  The best bird was a common teal first seen west of the forest; likely the same bird was seen 45 minutes later northwest of the equipment pad (about 1400 meters north of where I first saw it).  The other nonpasserine species of note was bald eagle.  I heard one singing and shortly saw some courtship aerobatics over the forest.  Later in the morning I saw an adult in the nest that's been used the last three years.  Songbirds of some interest were these:
Pacific wren-  1 (my first in the interior of the Tall Forest in a few years, I think)
varied thrush-  4
phainopepla-  1 (I had missed this one on four consecutive visits)
purple finch-  2
slate-colored fox sparrow-  1
Townsend's warbler-  1

There were lots of signs of spring in the vegetation.  The recent big storm snapped off lots of trees in the forest.  Two of my usual trails need detours cut- again!

John Trochet

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