Merced County

kent Van Vuren

From Top Of The Hill, Prunedale

My wife, Karen, and I birded the very cloudy Merced County today and had the following:

Varied Thrush 3 at Pacheco S.P (Dinosour pt. Rd)

Cackling Goose 1 at the O'neill Forebay (rare bird there)
1 along Santa Fe Grade Rd.

Red-breasted Merganser 1 female type

Swamp Sparrow 1 along Santa Fe Grade Rd.

Ruff 1 along Santa Fe Grade Rd.

Lesser Yellowlegs 1 along Gun Club Rd.

Peregrine Falcon 2 along Santa Fe Grade Rd.

Kent Van Vuren

Black-throated Sparrow and Chipping Sparrow, Capay Valley

Jennifer Rycenga

This morning Peggy Macres and I also saw the cooperative BLACK-THROATED SPARROW along County Road 22, just by the mailbox marked 24155. We spotted the mailbox, pulled over, and a flock of sparrows came to ground, lead by the Black-throated Sparrow. What a handsome bird! There was a LARK SPARROW a bit further down the road.

At the Capay Cemetery, we missed the White-throated Sparrows, but we saw a CHIPPING SPARROW adult, and a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER. In the orchard across the road from the cemetery were more LARK SPARROWS.

At the Farmer's Central Road pond, we missed the rare Golden-Plovers. There was a BARN SWALLOW mixed in with the many TREE SWALLOWS there. We also spotted Roy Carlson, sporting Sequoia Audubon logo wear! Made us feel right at home.

We found a CACKLING GOOSE at a stock pond on Road 103, between 28H and 27, near the landfill.

At the Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass area, we located a SORA, a surfeit of WILSON'S SNIPES, and, at twilight as the storm approached, we saw a NORTHERN HARRIER standing next to a SHORT-EARED OWL - presumably to harass it. The SHORT-EARED OWL remained unperturbed, knowing that the night shift was approaching rapidly. This drama played itself out along the small spur road to the rice fields, off the auto tour loop.

Good birding!

Jennifer Rycenga
Half Moon Bay, CA
The San Mateo County Birding Guide

Black-throated Sparrow, Mountain Plovers, etc

Cory Gregory <arcticory@...>


The previously reported BLACK-THROATED SPARROW near Esparto was still
present today. We were able to view the sparrow within two minutes
from our car.

Sightings from the Capay Cemetery included two WHITE-THROATED SPARROWS

We next drove up along Putah Creek. Sightings included three
and dozens of HERMIT THRUSHES.

Lastly, we found a flock of 35 MOUNTAIN PLOVERS in a disked field
south of Flannery Road. This is northwest of Rio Vista in Solano

See my blog for photos and maps of the locations:

Good birding,

Cory Gregory
Elk Grove, CA

Stone Lakes NWR and Cosumnes Preserve Birds, 11/5/11


We birded the new nature trail at Stone Lakes NWR this afternoon and were impressed with the number of SANDHILL CRANES (about 130 landed in the field just south of the trail) and shorebirds (hundreds on the shallow ponds east of the trail; mostly LEAST SANDPIPERS and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, but also 20 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and a few BLACK-NECKED STILTS, GREATER YELLOWLEGS, and KILLDEER). The paved loop trail begins and ends next to the refuge office off Hood Franklin Road, about half a mile west of I-5. There is plenty of parking and restrooms at the trail head.

At Cosumnes Preserve, the boardwalk was good for waterfowl, predominantly PINTAILS and NORTHERN SHOVELERS (hundreds), with lesser numbers of other dabbling ducks and one EARED GREBE. Desmond Road was good for WHITE-FRONTED GEESE (hundreds), cranes (about 20), and ducks. We also were lucky enough to see a PEREGRINE FALCON perched on the levee near the large pond with the ducks and geese. The best bird of the trip was a SHORT-EARED OWL that flew over the road right in front of us as we watched the peregrine at about 4:45 pm.

Dan and Amy Welsh, Citrus Heights

Solitary Sandpiper at Merced NWR

Matthew Dodder


Sal Salerno joined me and my Palo Alto Adult School birding class at
Merced NWR today. We had many highlights, but best bird of the day
was a SOLITARY SANDPIPER along the creek behind the restrooms. We
watched the bird for a few minutes as it foraged along the muddy
banks of the creek, and then it flew off toward the main pond. By the
first platform we had one DUNLIN, several WILSON'S SNIPE and a great
many of the expected Ducks, Geese, and Ibis. We also had at least
three AMERICAN BITTERNS along the south edge of the auto loop, an
adult BALD EAGLE flushing all manner of Geese by the first platform,
and at least 450 "Lesser" SANDHILL CRANES. Other birds of note
included a small group of HORNED LARKS on the plowed field along the
south edge of the loop, several GREAT TAILED GRACKLES by the second
platform. We were somewhat surprised at the number of BARN and TREE
SWALLOWS we found on the last large pond.

. . .

Matthew Dodder
Mountain View, CA

Re: [CVBirds] Request for CV winter feeder suggestions

Frances Bidstrup

Peanuts are a must! You can buy peanut feeders at most feed stores.

Frances Bidstrup

Frances Bidstrup
Research Associate
Point Reyes Bird Observatory
Wetlands Ecology Division

----- Original Message -----
From: sylvialwright
To: central_valley_birds@...
Sent: Saturday, November 05, 2011 12:08 PM
Subject: [CVBirds] Request for CV winter feeder suggestions

Folks, are you feeding anything other than this in your back yards this winter?

I've got:
Hummingbird feeders
Black oil sunflower seed (bulk)
Black oil sunflower seed (whole heads)
Gray sunflower seed (whole heads)
"Dove and quail mix" bulk seed from Ace; it's got millet, a bit of shelled sunflower seed, and something that's probably milo, on bare ground
Niger (thistle) seed socks

Other recommendations? Suet? What product or recipe?


south Davis

Re: [CVBirds] Are folks with backyard niger feeders seeing many goldfinches?


I've got lots of goldfinches at my feeder and have for well over a month.
You're probably right that it is likely old seed.

Ellen McBride
Rocklin, CA

In a message dated 11/5/2011 11:51:55 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
swright@... writes:

Are Sac/Davis folks with backyard niger feeders seeing many goldfinches?

I've got finches visiting my sock feeders but not staying. Am thinking
it's a batch of old seed. Thanks for a reality check.

Also, minor but fun: first-ever spotted towhee in the back yard this

south Davis

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Request for CV winter feeder suggestions

sylvialwright <swright@...>

Folks, are you feeding anything other than this in your back yards this winter?

I've got:
Hummingbird feeders
Black oil sunflower seed (bulk)
Black oil sunflower seed (whole heads)
Gray sunflower seed (whole heads)
"Dove and quail mix" bulk seed from Ace; it's got millet, a bit of shelled sunflower seed, and something that's probably milo, on bare ground
Niger (thistle) seed socks

Other recommendations? Suet? What product or recipe?


south Davis

Are folks with backyard niger feeders seeing many goldfinches?

sylvialwright <swright@...>

Are Sac/Davis folks with backyard niger feeders seeing many goldfinches?

I've got finches visiting my sock feeders but not staying. Am thinking it's a batch of old seed. Thanks for a reality check.

Also, minor but fun: first-ever spotted towhee in the back yard this morning.

south Davis

Am Golden Plover in Woodland this morning

tertial <shampton@...>


Most of the plovers were AWOL most of the morning, but around 10am a group of about 15 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and 1 AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER flew in. The AMGP never landed, but circled high and then eventually flew off high to the east over the two PEREGRINES. In flight, the feet did not protrude beyond the tail. It gave a very high-pitched tinty call.

Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

leucistic Horned Grebe photos

tertial <shampton@...>


I've posted 3 pics of the leucistic Horned Grebe with the interesting head pattern that I found Oct 17 at the Davis Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Pics are in the Loons and Grebes folder:

good birding,

Steve Hampton
Davis, CA

Casssiain King Bird

Dennis Pleau

Last year on this date, a bunch of us were at the corner of CR 27 and CR 88 watching the Cassin's King bird.

Dennis Pleau
Woodland, CA

continuing Black-throated Sparrow, Esparto

Denise and David Hamilton

Hi all,

Finally had the chance to go look for the Black-throated Sparrow as previously reported on County Rd. 22. Arrived around 10:15 am and spent over an hour looking for the sparrow- in the meantime, seeing numerous N. Flickers, 2 Red-breasted Sapsuckers, Lark Sparrows, and others. Just as we were about to leave, the sparrow flew across the road right in front of our car, landed in an oak, and then flew back across the road into the fenced-in orchard where we got great looks. (When we got home found out that it is a CA first for us!)

We did not see the White-throated sparrows at the Capay Cemetery, but still a nice mix of birds.

Headed over to Lake Solano to eat lunch (at the wide turnoff across from the lake.) Most interesting bird seen was a young Barn Swallow flying low over the lake and perching. Drove up along Putah Creek- quite a few Buffleheads, but only one Common Goldeneye seen below Monticello Dam (where 4 male Hooded Mergansers were trying to woo a female- didn't work.)

Good birding,
Denise & David Hamilton

both golden-plover species in Woodland

John Sterling

Todd Easterla found and showed me an American Golden-Plover juvenile with an adult Paciific Golden-Plover in the Farmer's Central pond just off County Road 102 in Woodland, Yolo County. Park in the parking lot and walk along the pathway on the south side of the first pond, go through the closed gate (unlocked) and proceed about the back side of the bird pond to see the birds in the second pond.

It was a county bird for me (307 native species).

John Sterling

26 Palm Ave
Woodland, CA 95695
530 908-3836
jsterling@... (photos, classes, tours, county birding)

Black Merlin and Pacific Wren at Discovery Park

Dan Williams

Had 40 species on a brief hour walk at Discovery Park in Sacramento this morning.

Best bird was a very cooperative male "BLACK" MERLIN perched atop a sycamore in the boat launch parking lot just north of Jiboom Street Bridge. Less cooperative but still exciting was a PACIFIC WREN calling from the dense berry thickets across the creek drainage from the boat launch.

There was also a juvenile SHARP-SHINNED HAWK ambitiously chasing (and being chased by) a flock of magpies at the river confluence. Also at the confluence was a WESTERN GREBE and a CALIFORNIA SEA LION.

If interested, see full list below:

Dan Williams

Greater White-fronted Goose (2 overhead)
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Western Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Merlin (F.c. suckleyi)
California Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub-Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Oak Titmouse
Bewick's Wren
Pacific Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler (including at least one V.c.celata)
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
White-crowned Sparrow
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Re: [CVBirds] Very Important - WARNING - DO NOT OPEN LINK

Bruce E. Webb <BruWebb@...>


Unfortunately, early this morning a message was sent by a hacker who
took control of John Fulton's computer and his email account. John is no
longer in control of his emails. The message (below) contains a link to
a malicious virus that will probably take control of your computer. DO
NOT OPEN this link. DELETE the email.

With over 1200 members on CVBirds it is unfortunate that this kind of
message is becoming a growing threat to anybody who has a WEAK email
password. Please take a few minutes today to strengthen your password
so it contain preferably a double mix of letters and numbers. Hackers
probably already have your email name, they just need to figure out your
password to hack it. Simple password = easy hack.

John Fulton has been removed from our member list until he gets
control. Probably with an entirely new email address. The message has
been removed from the archives.

Bruce Webb (CVBirds list moderator)
Granite Bay, CA

On 11/3/2011 2:05 AM, John Fulton wrote:

I believe this could be useful for u
<>Check it, please

YBSA in Downtown Sacramento

Clifford Hawley

Hi birders,

This morning at the lightrail stop at 12th and O St in Downtown Sacramento,
I heard and then was able to briefly see a juvenile plumaged Yellow-bellied
Sapsucker. The softer, nasally mew call caught my attention and I was able
to get brief views of the bird fairly high up. My train came shortly after
and the bird moved around the branch and out of view. This is an odd spot
and I have never seen any sapsucker workings here before so I have no idea
how long the bird will stick. My sighting was at about 9:37 am, right
before the 9:39 am train. Good birding.


Clifford Hawley
Sacramento, CA
"For, what are the voices of birds...
But words, our words,
Only so much more sweet?"
Robert Browning

Probably Pacific Golden-Plover Seen 10-19-11, not 10-31-11


The report that is indicated in italics below was submitted by myself on
Wednesday, October 19, which was the day that I saw the subject bird. For
whatever reason, the sighting report did not get sent out until today.
Perhaps a technical issue.
I thought that it would be good to clarify this, especially if there is
record keeping relative to when golden plovers are found at this location.
Frank Gray

I am not a shorebird ID expert but I think that I probably saw a juvenile
Pacific Golden Plover at the Woodland Ponds late this morning. Either that
or a very unusual Black-bellied. It was on a small dirt island in the
large pond, closest to where the birder's parking is. It was standing on
island, preening most of the time. Nearby were an estimated 150-200
Black-bellied Plovers, doing the same thing or sleeping.

Distinguishing characteristics

- smaller apparent size than black-bellied
- distinct tan or yellowish hue, especially notable on the head.
contrasting with grayish black-bellieds
- apparent barring on the flanks, going very far back, past the legs
- prominent "ear spot."
- slender bill, compared to a Black bellied, especially towards the tip

I don't know how unusual it is to see this species here and at this time
of the year.

Frank Gray

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

FW: [STA_Birds] Probable GOSHAWK 10-30-2011 Merced County + FOS siskin 10-29-2011

John Harris

This message came to StanBirds yesterday and would be of interest to this group.
John Harris

From: STA_Birds@... [STA_Birds@...] On Behalf Of John Fulton [merced_birding@...]
Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2011 11:52 AM
To: Carolyn Auker; Sal Salerno; Jim Gain; Jim Rowoth; David Yee; Harold Reeve; Jack Sparks; Jeff Brown; John Sterling; Kim Yancey; Lowell Young; Marie Stewart; Maryann Reynolds; Stanislaus Birds; Tim + Kathy Poole; Cliff Halverson Halverson
Subject: [STA_Birds] Probable GOSHAWK 10-30-2011 Merced County + FOS siskin 10-29-2011

Winter is early in the Central Valley of CA even if the snow is only flying in the northeast.
I just returned from seeing a probable immature female GOSHAWK along Santa Fe Grade, just 8-10 power-poles west of Hwy 165. The location was the southwest side of the road; the goshawk landed in a Eucalyptus tree after it chased away a Red-Tailed Hawk that was similar in size. The Goshawk then made 4 swoops at a jack rabbit, barely missing each time due to weeds underneath the two trailers behind the connex boxes at the Wooten place. The location is between Wilson Road and Hwy 165. The Wooten mailbox and the blue beat-up 57 Chevy mark the spot.
Field marks seen were the powerful wingbeats of very rounded, very wide, short wings;
The tail was extremely wide, like an extension of the heavy body; the tail was barred and rather square.
The size was about equal to the Red-Tail in lenghth and stockiness but with shorter wings and longer tail;
The size was about 3-4 inches longer than the length of the jackrabbit;
The front was heavily streaked with brown, lacking any orange hint.

Also at my feeder yesterday was an early pine siskin...a single bird that sat eating black oil sunflower seeds for 30 minutes.

John Fulton
cell: 209-201-6307
home: 209-826-1101

Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2011 08:40:17 -0700
From: mercedfledglings@...<>
Subject: Trip report - Consumnes River
To: mercedfledglings@...<>

On October 1, eight Fledgling members made the drive to the Cosumnes River Preserve located near Interstate 5 between Stockton and Sacramento.

The Cosumnes River is the only unregulated river on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada. The Preserve is located in the Central Valley where the Consumnes River joins the Mokelumne River. The Preserve consists of about 46,000 acres (72 square miles) of wetlands and adjacent uplands. Over 250 bird species have been seen there.

The Cosumnes Preserve is a joint effort of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Departments of Fish and Game and Water Resources, Ducks Unlimited, Sacramento County, the Nature Conservancy and the State Land Commission.

Unfortunately we did not see all 250 species. We were hoping to encounter a number of riparian migrants and were mildly disappointed. Working hard as a group and individuals we did manage to put together a list of 34 species including one of the first sandhill crane sightings of the year.

After birding we went for lunch to Wimpy's, a restaurant and marina overlooking the Mokelumne River.

Thank you Madeline for researching and organizing this outing.


Canada Goose X
Gadwall X
Mallard X
Cinnamon Teal X
Northern Shoveler X
Northern Pintail X
Pied-billed Grebe X
American White Pelican X
Great Egret X
White-faced Ibis X
Turkey Vulture X
Red-tailed Hawk X
American Kestrel X
American Coot X
Sandhill Crane X
Black-necked Stilt X
Greater Yellowlegs X
Dunlin X
Belted Kingfisher X
Northern Flicker X
Black Phoebe X
Western Scrub-Jay X
American Crow X
Tree Swallow X
Barn Swallow X
Bushtit X
Wrentit X
American Robin X
Spotted Towhee X
Song Sparrow X
Lincoln's Sparrow X
Red-winged Blackbird X
Bullock's Oriole 1
Lesser Goldfinch X

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

Re: [CVBirds] cackling geese query

Chuq Von Rospach <chuqvr@...>

I was on Staten Island Sunday afternoon for a couple of hours. I can't promise the 50,000 birds someone reported last week, but mid-afternoon (1-3:30) there were at least 10,000 cacklers hanging out on the island, plus good numbers of sandhill cranes. very, very few ducks for some reason.

A survey of the photos I took overnight showed the cacklers seemed about 50% aleutian and 50% cackling based on neck band (or lack of it). A quick scan didn't show me any banded birds or any that didn't fit those two types....

Sunset at Woodbridge last night was stunning, with a large flock of cacklers coming in amongst the 5,000+ sandhills that flew in for the night. Make sure you don't leave early in the dusk, since they kept coming in until well dark, and the good night chorus was just amazing.

(and don't forget next week is the festival: )

On Oct 31, 2011, at 8:05 AM, John Cant wrote:
I would be
grateful if someone could advise me whether large numbers of cacklers are
still at Staten Island,

Chuq Von Rospach, photographer, writer, and herder of cats

email: chuqvr@...
more photos:

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