John Trochet Inspired Birding

Andy Engilis

Like John, I spent the last three days of the Labor Day Weekend also birding in the North Delta with emphasis on Elk Sough (Merritt Island) one of my favorite places to bird watch.  My weekend was not as intrepid as John's starting in my Yard on Saturday in Elk Grove.  The feeders, valley oaks and water feature yielded several migrants including OC Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, many Yellow Warblers (including one window strike that will be immortalized in the Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology at UC Davis) and a lone Nashville Warbler.  A Black-headed Grosbeak also graced our feeders.

I went birding along Elk Slough on Sunday September 5th with Irene Engilis (my dog Fenway in tow -- not as annoying as the two ruffians John had).    On Saturday we did not get a start till 10 am, but the birds were quite active.  Our highlights were a single Lewis's Woodpecker,  my first for Elk Slough and quite early;  and a Yellow-breasted Chat.  We had numerous tanagers, Wilson's, OC, Yellow warblers,  Willow, Pac Slope flycatchers and WW Pewee. We also observed Rufous, Black-chinned and Anna's Hummers at a small house with ornamental flowers.  We observed 49 species in little over an hour and half.

I returned to Elk Slough today Sept 6th with Tony McCafferty at 7:30 am and birded along the slough's 5 miles.  Highlights for us was a single Gray Flycatcher,  several Willow and PS flycatchers, yellow, OC, Black-throated Gray warblers were common.  We also saw a juv. Swainson's Hawk- this species seems to have left the area early this year, owing the drought?    We also had our FOS adult Gambel's White-crowned Sparrow.  Lastly, we had an astonishing 5 Hooded Orioles feeding on grapes at two locations along the slough.  We observed 54 species today.

We then went south to Staten Island and birded three flooded fields that is terrific shorebird habitat right now.  I recommend visiting this area (best light is in the morning till about noon).  We had large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl.  About 10 cranes were in the wetlands.  Shorebirds included: Least and Western Sandpipers,  LB Dowitcher,  one possible SB Dowitcher,  Red-necked Phalaropes (12 or so),  both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs (Pectorals and Baird's sandpipers have been recently observed - fide Lynn Williams).  There were also curlews and ibis present.  If down at Cosumnes Preserve over the next week or so,  drop down to Staten to check out these ponds.   They are located on the west side of the Staten Island Road, past where pavement ends.

Good Birding all -- 
Andy Engilis
Elk Grove

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