Date   

Northern Waterthrush in Tulare Co.

Steve Summers
 

This morning Dane Fagundes found Tulare County's first record of NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH. The bird was along the Tule River between Ave. 144 and CA-43 which is downstream from the old Creighton Ranch Preserve. Here are the coordinates of the sighting: 36.048211, -119.508070. Bob and Susan Steele were able to see the bird just before noon and I saw it around 1:15p. It was calling in the morning but was silent when I was there.

Steve Summers
Porterville


Swainson's hawks

Michael Perrone
 

At 11 AM today on Yolo Co Road 30 just west of Road 105 were at least 250 Swainson's hawks, both on the ground catching crickets  and soaring overhead.  A willet was at North Regional Pond in Woodland.

Michael Perrone
Davis 


Yolo County big day, 4/30/21 (long)

Robert Furrow
 

On April 30th, Danny Karp and I did a big day in Yolo County, finishing with 154 species. We are both fully vaccinated and share a bubble for our daughters' daycare, so we decided to go for it and drive together.  We enjoyed a nice diversity of migrants, but struggled to find waterbirds.  Our biggest highlights were strong ridgeline migration on Rayhouse Road, as well as specialties there like Pileated Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, and Common Poorwill, nice birding on Road 81 with Yellow-breasted Chat and Golden Eagle, lingering Snow and Greater White-Fronted Geese all over the place, and smatterings of migrants throughout the day. A longer description is below.

We started at 2:45am in Davis. By 4:15am, we were out of the car at Rayhouse Road, having already found many BARN and GREAT HORNED OWLS, COMMON GALLINULE, and a few other easy species.  The owling was steady along Rayhouse Road, and we added WESTERN SCREECH- and NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL in short succession. We reached the first ridge around 5:15am and heard a few COMMON POORWILL.  Even at that early hour the BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAKS were cranked up in the patches of buckeye interspersed through the chaparral. They were the bird of dawn -- we detected ~40 of them over the next hour, including quite a few flyovers. But then the WESTERN TANAGERS took over, and we saw 50+ between 6:30-7:45am. It was fun to watch a tree fill with tanagers, then see them take off over the ridge, only to have the tree fill again with a new tanager flock.

Flyovers at dawn were pretty good, and included many WILSON'S and BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS, our only TOWNSEND'S WARBLER of the day, lots of LAZULI BUNTINGS, and many unidentified others.  Just before sunrise we had heard the flight calls of a small group of SWAINSON'S THRUSHES. Good thing we did, because we found zero during our daylight birding.  Although the migrants were fun, we also made sure we didn't miss the chaparral specialities. Our scouring and listening yielded all the expected scrub-lovers: WRENTIT, CALIFORNIA THRASHER, BELL'S SPARROW, BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHER.  In the distance we heard MOUNTAIN QUAIL throughout the morning, and had many flyover BAND-TAILED PIGEON.

Heading back down Rayhouse Road to our cars, the birding was extremely slow. We're not sure why the birds weren't singing, but we heard very few songs even from locals like ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLER and PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER.  Fortunately we did manage to finally found HUTTON'S VIREO and STELLER'S JAY before we left their territory for good.  We also appreciated the slow "wuk"-ing of a PILEATED WOODPECKER, although we never encountered any Hairy Woodpeckers. Just before we hopped into our car, we enjoyed VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS overhead and a glowing NASHVILLE WARBLER foraging in a flowering willow along Cache Creek.

Back in the car, we made a few stops as we rolled south out of Cache Creek Canyon, adding another Nashville Warbler, a YELLOW WARBLER, and several RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROWS.  We then poked around a few spots along Cache Creek and along small roads offshooting CA 16.  Our best luck was along Rd 81, where we poked around the end of the road and watched 2 GOLDEN EAGLES soaring, a VAUX'S SWIFT, and a PHAINOPEPLA, while a LINCOLN'S SPARROW buzzed and a YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT whistled and clucked from a little marshy patch.  We had heard LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCH multiple times on Rayhouse Road, but we finally got to see (and hear) a flyby on Rd 81.

We hustled onward to Davis Wetlands, so that we would have time to bird it before its early closing time of 1pm.  As we passed the Davis WTP, we noted a lone SNOW GOOSE and a LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE.  Inside the wetlands we had a mix of expected shorebirds, a SORA, and a not-too-diverse smattering of ducks. The highlight was a HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER that Danny noted perched up in a low snag in the middle of the marshes.  It felt odd to have it in this habitat, so we checked closely to make sure it wasn't a Dusky or Gray. Leaving the wetlands, we drove north to the Woodland WTP to bird the North Regional Pond and the small ponds on the south side of Gibson.  It was starting to feel like a pretty weak shorebird day, but RED-NECKED PHALAROPES (4 on North Pond, 5 in a small pond on the south side) were a treat. We also enjoyed the HORNED GREBE that was around that day, but didn't find any Clark's/Westerns, nor the recent Cackling Goose, nor any Black Terns or even a Greater Yellowlegs (which we missed for the day!). 

At this point in the late afternoon, we poked southward, stopping here and there as we wound our way to the Yolo Bypass.  Little stops offered up SAY'S PHOEBE, LARK SPARROW, CATTLE EGRET, and DUNLIN.  The Yolo Bypass was very dry, with slow and steady birding. HORNED LARKS flashed their red clay backs as they flushed from the road, and WHITE-TAILED KITES and NORTHERN HARRIER were regularly in view. An AMERICAN BITTERN boomed unseen from a marsh, and a male BLUE GROSBEAK gave some obscured views as he sang. We finally (!!) found AMERICAN GOLDFINCH, a bird that had been unexpectedly absent all morning.

It was around 5pm, and we had 0 gulls and 1 tern, plus some missing ducks and shorebirds. So we decided to drive over to West Sacramento to bird Bridgeway Island Pond and the deepwater shipping channel. The pond was pretty quiet, but a pair of BLUE-WINGED TEAL gave us a boost of energy. 4 CALIFORNIA GULLS passed overhead going south, and a FORSTER'S TERN winged down the shipping channel.  We saw two adult BALD EAGLES, and enjoyed watching flights of Western Sandpipers heading up and down the channel.  No luck with Western or Clark's Grebes.  

With our remaining time, we decided to poke around the Davis Cemetery, adding a staked out HOODED ORIOLE (thanks to Jasen Liu for sharing the spot), but not finding any non-Anna's Hummingbirds in the bottlebrush.  We did happen upon some migrants, finding our second Hammond's Flycatcher and second Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the day. Both great birds for the location and date, but not given their full due because of the checklist nature of a big day.  With the sun setting, we elected to call it quits, although we surely could have picked up another bird or two in the waning light or with some evening marsh listening.  We'll save that for a wetter year with a higher list!

Overall, we had a lovely day, highlighted by the tanager and Black-headed Grosbeak migration in the hills. We are still both learning the ins and outs of the county, so a future big day could be better with a few more stakeouts.  Our big challenge was the dryness of this spring. Most of our big misses were waterbirds, including Green Heron, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Northern Pintail, Common Goldeneye, Virginia Rail, Black-bellied Plover, Long-billed Curlew, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, and Ring-billed Gull. We also had no Rufous or Black-chinned Hummingbirds, which was surprising considering the amount of time we devoted around good nectar plants in full flower. 

Next up, a biking big day this week. We'll see how that fares!

Happy birding,
Rob Furrow

--
Robert Furrow
Davis, CA 95618
robertfurrow@...


CRP snowy plover present this morning

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

Andrew Lee’s snowy plover, found yesterday, flew in at 06:10 this morning and is now visible from the elevated gravel parking spot next to the small shed at the Desmond Road railroad crossing.

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

Chris Ortega
 

Hi Henry,

I'm not the best person to answer this, but since no one else has... My assumption is that the eBird reviewer(s) for San Joaquin county will not confirm this sighting on anyone's checklist. It's up to the individual whether they want to remove it or not since your life list is your own. For example, I choose to leave an unconfirmed sighting of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Contra Costa on my list, even though the photos I got of it weren't good enough for the eBird reviewer to confirm the sighting. Others may choose to leave Budgerigar on their lists when they see one around here even though it's essentially guaranteed to be an escaped pet. That said, if anyone searches for confirmed Whooper Swan sightings, this one won't show up, nor will it add to the total number of species seen on this hotspot's checklist. It's also possible that the reviewer(s) may reach out to those who leave it on their list and ask them to remove it (but they'll still get to chose whether they want to do so). I think a fair amount depends on the reviewer(s). So far it looks like several people have removed the swan from their lists, while most others haven't. I think I'll leave my sighting up as "swan sp." just to note he's there unless an eBird reviewer asks me to remove it.

I hope that's at least somewhat helpful.

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

henry_koertzen@...
 

Thanks for hunting down the information on the swan Chris. It is very interesting to know where it came from. 

What is the procedure for eBird now? Everyone go and delete their sighting?

Henry Koertzen 
Tracy, CA


Yolo County migrants

Michael Perrone
 

On April 28 a yellow-breasted chat was a surprise at the very south end of the Wildhorse agricultural buffer in Davis.  On April 29 a breeding plumage horned grebe was near the east end of Woodland's North Regional Pond.  This morning in the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve  a chat was singing sporadically in the thicket upstream of the rope swing, and a Swainson's thrush was singing about a half mile downstream.

Michael Perrone
Davis


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

Chris Ortega
 

Alright everyone, here's the latest. No one responded to that email I sent, so I eventually found a phone number and was able to contact people at the River Islands development corporate office where, eventually, someone was able to tell me that the swan comes from Priest Ranch Winery, which is on Somerston Estate in Yountville, CA. If you look up information about this, you can find a couple of sources referencing the swans, including one article that claims the female in the pair was dispatched by a mountain lion! This same article explains the swans were brought in originally to deter Canada Geese who were coming in and eating the grapes. Apparently the person who owns the estate also owns this River Islands development company, so when the pond dried up in Yountville, he had the remaining swan moved to his property in Lathrop. It makes sense that someone with enough money to own an estate with a winery in Napa Valley AND and entire neighborhood development company wouldn't balk at a 4-5 figure price tag for the swans. I don't have an explanation for the rust staining on the head, but for my part, I've seen enough to be satisfied that this is not a wild bird, as much as I wish it were. If anyone else wants to take the next steps by reaching out to the winery and trying to find out more about when, why, or how the owner procured them, please feel free, but I'm not interested in digging any further.

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

Chris Ortega
 

I wanted to have some more concrete information before posting again, but it's taking a while to find, so here's at least a somewhat more complete story. Yesterday morning I called Lathrop Parks and Rec to see if they knew about the swan. They didn't but then called me back while I was driving over there in the early evening. Since I was driving, I didn't ask as many questions as I probably should have, but the message was that this Whooper Swan was one of two captive Whooper Swans who were previously kept at another location. I was told the other of the two died not long ago, and now the pond where they were being kept is dried up for some reason. I was also told that locals (of wherever this first pond is) knew the still-living Whooper Swan as Siegfried.

This morning, I called Lathrop P&R back to ask a few more questions. Apparently, the information they had relayed to me came from a private River Islands Community Facebook page, of which, one of the employees there happened to be a member. The city doesn't actually have anything to do with the swan officially and wouldn't have been able to give me any update had their employee not been a resident in the River islands neighborhood. They said the arrangements with having the swan relocated would have been made by the executives with the River Islands developer. I was given an email address to reach out to them and sent an email at 9:30 this morning. I have not yet heard back from them, so that's the current status. I tried to get what little information out that I had as soon as possible yesterday, and will continue to do so with any interesting developments, but so far that's all I have to report. If this does indeed turn out to be a captive bird, I still don't regret going to see him yesterday. It was a fun excuse to go on a short trip with my family, and the Boathouse Restaurant was really good!

Chris Ortega
Bay Point, CA


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

Steve Hampton
 

In addition to zoos, there are many private waterfowl collections in the Central Valley-- it's a kind of hobby among some wealthier duck hunters. In addition, it's a bit of a secret circle in that they are pretty private about what they have. 



On Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 10:15 PM Ralph via groups.io <sharks_hockey_maniac=yahoo.com@groups.io> wrote:
As they are predominantly Eurasian birds I doubt they are protected under the MBTA. I looked on Google and found a bird farm in Michigan that has them for sale for $1,000-2,000 and another in Wisconsin that has them for $11,250 (quite a difference! but the WI place has them in stock and offers free shipping).

Ralph Baker, Riverbank



--
Steve Hampton
Port Townsend, WA
Qatay, S'Klallam territory


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

Ralph
 

As they are predominantly Eurasian birds I doubt they are protected under the MBTA. I looked on Google and found a bird farm in Michigan that has them for sale for $1,000-2,000 and another in Wisconsin that has them for $11,250 (quite a difference! but the WI place has them in stock and offers free shipping).

Ralph Baker, Riverbank


Re: [countybirders] [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update

John Luther
 

This still does not answer the question of where this swan came from.  Is it legal to have a migratory species like this in captivity?  Do you need permits or papers showing origin?  

John Luther
Oakland 

On Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 6:33:22 PM PDT, John Harris <johnh@...> wrote:


Just being the messenger, please don't shoot!
John Harris
Oakdale

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Chris Ortega <chrisorte9a@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 28, 2021 at 5:58 PM
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan Update
To: <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>


I just got word form Lathrop Parks and Rec that this is a known captive that was just recently relocated here from another pond that is currently dried out. Apparently his name is Siegfried.


Whooper Swan Update

Chris Ortega
 

I just got word form Lathrop Parks and Rec that this is a known captive that was just recently relocated here from another pond that is currently dried out. Apparently his name is Siegfried.


Re: Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Andy Engilis
 

All -- There is some discussion if the Whooper Swan currently in San Joaquin County is an escapee vs wild bird and of course that is always an issue with vagrant waterfowl.  However, if this bird is injured or sick, it could very well be a straggler, incapable of migrating away when the Tundra Swans left the region.  It now is trying to survive which may account for its current condition.  Loners found well past the time of wintering or migration is not all that uncommon for swans and geese in the Central Valley.  Therefore, the timing of the observation may not be relevant  to determine if it is an escapee vs wild bird.  I note that the rust staining of the feathers is usually attained by swans and geese from arctic areas where iron rich wetlands affect feathers.  It is not a common plumage aberration from captive birds.

 

Also, Whooper Swans are not common in captivity, their cost to obtain one legally for zoos and private ponds is extremely high (several thousands of dollars).

 

Just adding to the discussion -- Andy

 

 

Andrew Engilis, Jr.

Curator

Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology

Dept of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology

One Shield Avenue

University of California

Davis, CA 95616

USA

 

Office Phone:  530-752-0364

Cell: 530-902-1881

FAX: 530-752-4154

E-mail:  aengilisjr@...

Website:  http://mwfb.ucdavis.edu

 

From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of Frances Oliver via groups.io
Sent: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 8:53 PM
To: SJ Birds <SJBirds@groups.io>; CV Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>; County Birds <countybirders@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

 

Details: 

This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 



When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.



According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 



An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣







PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances

Lodi, CA 

 

 


Re: [countybirders] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Frances Oliver
 

Thanks Chris! You covered a lot of ground for us. We in SJ Co. really appreciate it! 

Frances
Lodi, CA

On Apr 28, 2021, at 12:24 PM, Chris Ortega <chrisorte9a@...> wrote:

It seems hard to believe this is a wild bird, but since I would love for it to be, I've been reaching out to local (and not so local) zoos. Here's what I've got so far:

City of Lathrop Parks and Rec had no prior knowledge of the swan.
Micke Grove Zoo in Lodi says all their birds are accounted for (I didn't get to ask specifically if they have any Whooper Swans, but they didn't when I went there in January of last year).
Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Monterey, and Fresno zoos all say they do not have any Whooper Swans.
I'm waiting for messages back from Merced, and Folsom City Zoos as well as 6 Flags Discovery Kingdom.
I even checked with the local Boathouse Restaurant, and they confirmed they have not acquired any exotic swans as an attraction.

I'm mostly posting in case anyone else is looking into the same places so we don't have to redo each other's work. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go down there soon at get a look at the bird!

Chris Ortega
Bay Point


Re: [countybirders] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Chris Ortega
 

It seems hard to believe this is a wild bird, but since I would love for it to be, I've been reaching out to local (and not so local) zoos. Here's what I've got so far:

City of Lathrop Parks and Rec had no prior knowledge of the swan.
Micke Grove Zoo in Lodi says all their birds are accounted for (I didn't get to ask specifically if they have any Whooper Swans, but they didn't when I went there in January of last year).
Sacramento, San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, Monterey, and Fresno zoos all say they do not have any Whooper Swans.
I'm waiting for messages back from Merced, and Folsom City Zoos as well as 6 Flags Discovery Kingdom.
I even checked with the local Boathouse Restaurant, and they confirmed they have not acquired any exotic swans as an attraction.

I'm mostly posting in case anyone else is looking into the same places so we don't have to redo each other's work. Hopefully I'll get a chance to go down there soon at get a look at the bird!

Chris Ortega
Bay Point


Re: [countybirders] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Andy Engilis
 

If this bird is not doing well, monitor its progress, if it dies and can be retrieved, please contact me so we can obtain the bird as a specimen. 

 

Thanks – Andy

 

Andrew Engilis, Jr.

Curator

Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology

Dept of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology

One Shield Avenue

University of California

Davis, CA 95616

USA

 

Office Phone:  530-752-0364

Cell: 530-902-1881

FAX: 530-752-4154

E-mail:  aengilisjr@...

Website:  http://mwfb.ucdavis.edu

 

From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> On Behalf Of John Sterling via groups.io
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 9:09 AM
To: Frances Oliver <hummer52@...>
Cc: SJ Birds <SJBirds@groups.io>; CV Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>; County Birds <countybirders@groups.io>
Subject: Re: [centralvalleybirds] [countybirders] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

 

Still here now. 

 

John Sterling

530 908-3836

26 Palm Ave

Woodland, CA 95695



On Apr 27, 2021, at 8:52 PM, Frances Oliver <hummer52@...> wrote:

Details: 

This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 



When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.



According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 



An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣



<image0.jpeg>





PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances

Lodi, CA 

 

 


Re: [countybirders] Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

John Sterling
 

Still here now. 


John Sterling
530 908-3836
26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695

On Apr 27, 2021, at 8:52 PM, Frances Oliver <hummer52@...> wrote:

Details: 
This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 

When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.

According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 

An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣

<image0.jpeg>


PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances
Lodi, CA 



recent birds at the Cosumnes River Preserve

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

Last Wednesday, April 21st, I returned to Howard Ranch in southeastern Sacramento County (part of the preserve as a conservation easement) primarily to follow up the interesting behavior of the adult ferruginous hawks I observed the preceding Wednesday.  I did not find them, despite covering more grassland and open oak savanna than on any previous visit to the ranch.  I started early and on this visit enjoyed decent nocturnal birding.  Finds of at least personal interest were these:
lesser nighthawk-  2
common poorwill-  1
northern harrier-  1
Swainson's hawk-  2
ferruginous hawk-  1 immature
western screech-owl-  3
great horned owl-  1
Lewis's woodpecker-  4 (I didn't visit their best areas on the ranch)
gray flycatcher-  1
violet-green swallow-  10
ruby-crowned kinglet-  2
rufous-crowned sparrow-  3
shipping sparrow-  1
grasshopper sparrow-  2 or 3
white-crowned sparrow-  120 (a really big influx)
tricolored blackbird-  25, feeding among cattle akin to cowbirds
orange-crowned warbler-  3
Nashville warbler-  2
Audubon's warbler-  1
Wilson's warbler-  7

On Saturday the 24th, I did an abbreviated visit behind the Farm Center gate, covering the Accidental Forest path to the south only, the Tall Forest Northeast (where I got lost again owing to lack of a sun compass and going off trail), plus Wood Duck Slough and the west side road.  Otherwise I cut trail south on the floodplain in order to see the bald eagle nest.  Late in the morning I met Nancy Sage to see the nest,  The two eaglets are now pretty big, well-covered in dark brown feathers, but still lacking any length to the flight feathers of the wings.  This day's findings were as follows:
bald eagle-  4
warbling vireo-  1
common raven-  1
hermit thrush-  1
white-crowned sparrow-  10
golden-crowned sparrow-  15
Lincoln's sparrow-  1
orange-crowned warbler-  4
common yellowthroat-  4
yellow warbler-  2
Audubon's warbler-  4
Wilson's warbler-  6
black-headed grosbeak-  25

On Sunday, I turned my alarm off at 05:00 and when I looked "a minute later" it was 06:15!  I checked the weather by looking out the window and saw no rain or wind, so I headed out.  I decided to do a sweep of the shorebird habitat.  I couldn't quite manage it because the back side of Lost Slough East is blocked off by an electric fence confining the sheep there, but I did check the Twin Cities unit.  Water is down quite a bit over the preceding seven days; still, there were lots more birds to look through today.  The best area on Tuesday, opposite the VC near the platform west of Franklin, is now dry except at the far west end.  At this rate of water loss, there won't be much when I do the Lost Slough survey next Sunday.

Here's some of what I turned up (some of the numbers are pretty crude):
greater white-fronted goose-  720
blue-winged teal-  2
ring-necked duck-  3
common goldeneye-  1
bufflehead-  1
ruddy duck-  1
eared grebe-  1
Virginia rail-  1 (heard only)
sora-  1 (out in the open at the end of the boardwalk)
common gallinule-  1 (right next to the sora)
American coot-  1800
black-necked stilt-  140
American avocet-  85
killdeer-  45
semipalmated plover-  120
whimbrel-  2 (fly-over; FOS)
dunlin-  220
least sandpiper-  550
western sandpiper-  3800
peep sp.-  800
long-billed dowitcher-  3100
Wilson's snipe-  1
solitary sandpiper-  1
greater yellowlegs-  2
white-faced ibis-  4
peregrine falcon-  3-5
American pipit-  12
white-crowned sparrow-  2
golden-crowned sparrow-  6

One of the leasts had the best split supercilium I've ever seen.  I tried very hard to turn it into a long-toed stint, but it wouldn't be turned.  After about 10:15 peregrines were a frequent annoyance, diving through bait balls of shorebirds, as often in braces as in singletons.  Cast your mind back a few decades and we wished for such things.

I was not the only one looking for birds at the preserve that morning.  Chris Conard ran his monthly survey at Orr Ranch, a well-wooded parcel of the preserve closed to unscheduled public visitation.  I hope that he will not mind my relating his summary to me.  He found 82 species, including these:
Green-winged Teal  2
Ring-necked Pheasant  1     Calling. Getting rare here.
Eurasian Collared-Dove  3     One singing from the forest north of Schick Portal. Usually near human landscapes.
Long-billed Curlew  1     Calling flyover
Western Sandpiper  1
peep sp.  2
Long-billed Dowitcher  11
Green Heron  2     Flew from river into tree by Bobcat Beach
Barn Owl  1
Great Horned Owl  2     Dueting
Western Wood-Pewee  1     My FOS
Pacific-slope Flycatcher  9 After this, surprised you haven't been finding many around the Tall Forest
Ash-throated Flycatcher  20
Hutton's Vireo  4     Took until almost 10 to hear the first one.
Warbling Vireo  7
Common Raven  5     Seemed to have a nest or nest site in the main forest. An interesting array of low croaks and gurgles. Very agitated by my presence.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1     Singing
White-breasted Nuthatch (Pacific)  8
Swainson's Thrush  2     Often don't get these until May
Hermit Thrush  1
Purple Finch  1     A nice late surprise
American Goldfinch  Watched a female work really hard to put a few fibers of material from a dried stalk of last year's emergent marsh plant (actually not sure what kind of plant it is...it's growing from a patch that also contains a low bullrush).
Chipping Sparrow  1
Lark Sparrow  13
Dark-eyed Junco  1     Singing inside forest, not at one of the typical nesting sites.
White-crowned Sparrow (Gambel's)  5 by this time, expect more GCs than WCs
Golden-crowned Sparrow  1
Lincoln's Sparrow  4     Never know when the last of the season will be. Maybe today.
Bullock's Oriole  48     Abundant. Counted throughout morning. Saw two females collecting nesting material. Also, a ball of five orioles fighting.
Orange-crowned Warbler  3
Common Yellowthroat  15
Yellow Warbler  1
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)  2 getting late
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's)  19
Townsend's Warbler  1
Setophaga sp.  3     Townsend's-type song
Wilson's Warbler  9
Western Tanager  2
Black-headed Grosbeak  15
Lazuli Bunting  2     Two males in the same tree

Sunday night I took the suggestion that Kimball Garrett made on a southern California listserv to look for migrant birds crossing the face of the moon.  I spent about 20 minutes in my backyard in Sacramento and saw none.

Yesterday I was back behind the Farm Center gate.  It turned into more of a work day than I had expected.  Despite attending to trail recovery, I had a fair encounter rate with Neotrops today, excepting non-ash-throated flycatcher flycatchers.  I had a few westerns/Pacific-slopes10 days to three weeks ago, but none since and no other empids besides.  This is a bit of a surprise considering Chris's encounter rate with Pacific-slope flycatchers.  It was cold to start this morning.  I made a quick stop at the shack and heard at least one magpie until I stepped out of the car, then silence.  On my way to the Accidental Forest, my car's thermometer read freezing on the equipment pad, so I expected a low of 25 or 26 degrees.  But there was a bit of a breeze in that area and the low was 29 degrees.  I was glad to have a fourth layer of clothing.  After stopping at the east side edge I parked on the pad and walked the edge that is the road on the north side of the Triangle Pond.  I finished with a walk down Wood Duck Slough and back via the west side road.  Birds of some interest include the following
sharp-shinned hawk-  1 (getting near the end of their usual stay in the lowlands)
Cooper's hawk-  2 (possibly a nest in the far southwest of the Tall Forest)
Cassin's vireo-  1
Hutton's vireo-  4
western warbling vireo-  7
common raven-  2
hermit thrush-  1 (another soon to be elsewhere for the nesting season)
white-crowned sparrow-  0
golden-crowned sparrow-  3 (widely separated apparent singletons)
Lincoln's sparrow-  0
brown-headed cowbird-  12 (fewer than expected)
orange-crowned warbler-  12
Nashville warbler-  8
common yellowthroat-  7
yellow warbler-  2
Audubon's warbler-  10
Wilson's warbler-  16
western tanager-  2
black-headed grosbeak-  20

I decided to take my scope down to the preserve for a second night of moon watching for nocturnal migrants.  This one was much more successful than the first (it couldn't have been less successful).  I spent 55 minutes looking at the face of the moon through my scope.  In that time I saw 8 bats (mostly moving east or southeast), 28 birds (25 moving north, 3 to the south, including what I think was a wood duck) and four things that just clipped the moon's illuminated disc, but all headed north.  I also had a couple of things that may have been insects.  They seemed really tiny and moved comparatively oddly.  Lots of crickets and chorus frogs made for a nice soundscape, too.  I didn't hear any passerine nocturnal flight calls.  It was a fun outing, even if I had no idea, for the most part, what the silhouetted birds were.

Today I birded the Accidental Forest and vicinity (31 degrees F. at sunrise) and the Tall Forest.  This morning started great, with lots of activity in and around the Accidental Forest.  I walked all three directions from the parking spot, and all three were birdy.  When I got back to the car after going both north and south, there was a nice mixed flock right over the vehicle.  Unfortunately the flock melted away almost immediately, and I saw fewer than half the birds initially present.  Tent caterpillars are back on the ash trees.  It remains to be seen if the infestation will rival or exceed last year's.  By contrast, the Tall Forest was really quite slow.  I had two FOS species, both macrochires.  Because I had an errand to run and a Zoom meeting to attend in the early afternoon, it was a short day.  Of interest to me were these:
Vaux's swift-  1 (FOS)
black-chinned hummingbird-  1 (FOS male nectaring at the only patch of Scrophularia californica in the Tall Forest known to me)
bald eagle-  1 adult at the nest
acorn woodpecker-  1
Cassin's vireo-  1
Hutton's vireo-  1
western warbling vireo-  4
common raven-  2
hermit thrush-  4
white-crowned sparrow-  1
golden-crowned sparrow-  2
white-crowned x golden-crowned sparrow-  1
Nashville warbler-  1
common yellowthroat-  3
yellow warbler-  1
Audubon's warbler-  1
Townsend's warbler-  2
Wilson's warbler-  6
western tanager-  1
black-headed grosbeak-  30

The putative hybrid sparrow looked sort of like a white-crowned from the side, except that the superciliary became very hard to see behind the eye.  But when the bird looked at me, I could see a broad sagittal crown stripe of slightly greenish gold.  I've seen this mix before, but not, I think, as an adult.

I am still awaiting my FOS western wood-pewee, Swainson's thrush and lazuli bunting, all birds that Chris picked up at Orr Ranch on Sunday.

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


Whooper Swan, SJ CO. 4/27/21

Frances Oliver
 

Details: 
This afternoon I received an interesting Ebird sighting for SJ Co of a WHOOPER SWAN! This sighting was reported by Henry Koetzen @ River Island Park, an area located between Lathrop & Tracy. So I decided to go see this swan for myself after receiving a phone call from John Luther that it was still there. 

When I arrived John had it in view. Originally, it had been in the water accompanied by 2 Canada Geese. Now it was resting on the shoreline. This swan had a rusty head, large bill, with the yellow extending from the base of the bill almost to the tip. When it stood, no leg band or neck band was noted. It flapped its wing and called when I accidentally approached to closely. Wings appear to be intact. It took a few steps, with a very awkward gait; is it injured? Or just unsteady due to the slope? So where did it come from? Is it an escapee? It seems to be the wrong time of the year to have one in SJ County, plus I don’t think we have many, if any records.

According to accepted records by the CBRC, No records are usually seen past March 10, which is also reflective of the Tundra Swans in the state. The late date alone presents a problem to it being a wild bird, plus this bird being a lone individual. It would be interesting to find out if there are records of Lone individuals.  And many are now to be kept in captivity. So who know? 

An interesting bird, that’s for sure. It took me away from yard work 🤣



PS; thanks goes to David Yee for the info on CBRC records. 

Frances
Lodi, CA 


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