recent birds at the Cosumnes River Preserve

Glennah Trochet

Dear Birders,

In the past week I've made a few visits behind locked gates at the Cosumnes River Preserve.  If you hope to visit soon, you should plan to arrive for the early waterfowl fly-out well before sunrise.  This is sometimes accompanied by the breakfast prowl of birds of prey.

On Tuesday the 16th I spent some 40 minutes looking for the putative yellow-rumped warbler gynandromorph northeast of the Tall Forest.  I failed to find it.  I then went to the Denier property, north of Twin Cities Road.  In both places the birding was underwhelming (well, the waterfowl fly-out around 06:15-06:30 was pretty nice).  Most notable was an early flock of 108 wild turkeys at Denier; I saw a flock of about 15 later in the morning.  A couple of mammal observations were interesting to me.  While looking for the warbler, a raccoon walked by, only about 35-40 feet away in the wide open, sporting a broken tail.  About two-thirds out, the tail turned 90 degrees and hung limply, rocking back and forth according to the animal's general movements.  In Shaw Forest, near the mother tree, I put up a coyote.  When it first came out of the dense blackberry patch running directly away, I thought that it was a bobcat.  The tail beyond about 20% of normal length was just gone.

On the 17th I walked a route very like that of my monthly Tall Forest surveys.  The birds of modest note included the following:
snow goose blue morph-  4
bald eagle-  1 (on nest)
acorn woodpecker-  2
common raven-  1
varied thrush-  1
purple finch-  2
white-throated sparrow-  1

On the 18th I spent much of my time clearing trails in advance of Saturday's monthly survey.  For the first time in many weeks I seemed to find all the bushtit flocks.  Unfortunately there weren't many goodies with them.  The day's better birds were these:
bald eagle-  2 adults, one in the nest
acorn woodpecker-  3
golden-crowned kinglet-  1 (it must be close to two months since I last had this species in the Tall Forest; I've seen it more recently on Lost Slough and the River Walk)
varied thrush-  2
purple finch--  3
Townsend's warbler-  1

Yesterday the 20th was this month's bird survey in and around the Tall Forest.  I turned up about 94 species, including the following:
snow goose blue morph-  2
American wigeon "storm wigeon"-  1
American avocet-  2 (my first at the preserve this season)
bald eagle-  1 (on nest)
acorn woodpecker-  3
peregrine falcon-  1
yellow-billed magpie-  110 (largest flock since the local advent of West Nile Virus in 2005)
common raven-  2
varied thrush-  3
purple finch-  8
slate-colored fox sparrow-  1

Today I walked ditch banks and field margins behind the Farm Center gate, and concluded the morning with a tour of the Bottoms (now grown up to forest) and a return to the car along Wood Duck Slough.  As I was arriving (a bit late this morning) an adult bald eagle was flying west over Franklin Boulevard at 06:30.  The waterfowl fly-out was comparatively poor- perhaps I missed the bulk of it by being late.  Today's other better birds were these:
peregrine falcon-  1
purple finch-  2
black-throated gray warbler-  1

Today I recorded 15 Lincoln's sparrows.  Most Februaries this would not be worth mentioning.  But this season I've struggled just to record the species on my field outings at Cosumnes.  I had four yesterday, and that was my best daily total in months.

John Trochet

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