Date   

Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count 2020 Summary

Steve Hampton
 

The 50th Putah Creek Christmas Bird Count was held on December 20, 2020 under strict Covid protocol. Area leaders sought to cover all usual routes with teams of one to two local experienced birders only. Thus, the count was essentially closed to the public. No carpooling was allowed and social distancing was required.

 

Clear and calm weather made for a long and enjoyable counting day, ultimately tallying 143 species. 

 

As expected, the total number of participants was low, only 55 compared to the usual 85. The count was successful in covering all the usual routes, as evidenced by 206 party hours, the third highest total ever. This high number was largely driven by an extraordinary effort in Area 6, whose 38 party hours eclipsed the historical average of 13.

 

We traveled 121 miles on foot, a record high, and 171 miles by car.  The early hours were marked by 16.4 hours of owling, also a record high. 

 

There was one new species found on the count: a Black-throated Sparrow that was known to be over-wintering at a private residence in Area 4 (Yolo County).

     

Record high counts were set for seven species.  These were: Virginia Rail (7), Great-horned Owl (95), Anna's Hummingbird (262), Black Phoebe (252), Common Raven (450), White-breasted Nuthatch (236), and White-crowned Sparrow (3,011).

 

Many of the record high counts continue increasing trends among insectivores and fructivores, correlated with warmer winters and a lack of overnight freezes. Yellow-billed Magpies rebounded to their highest total since 2011, though still below pre-West Nile Virus numbers, especially when adjusted for party hours.

 

For the second year in a row, the only all-time low record was for Brewer's Blackbird (370).

 

Thanks to all the area leaders for assembling thorough coverage under pandemic conditions. We hope next year we can invite all birders and birders-to-be and finish the day with the comradery of a potluck.   


--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA


Eastern Phoebe, Cache Creek, Yolo County, Jan 24 2021

Brent Campos
 

Fellow bird watchers,

There was an Eastern Phoebe along Cache Creek today. Coordinates for the bird and a photo are in an eBird checklist, here. To see this bird, from the Wild Wings access point (directions here) walk west on the gravel road along the dry canal to the "western pond," an old mining borrow pit filled in with emergent marsh vegetation and ringed with Gooding's willow. If you have not birded at Wild Wings County Park before, or haven't recently, you will notice relatively new No Trespassing signage along this gravel road. The land to the west of the County Park, between the canal and the creek channel is owned by the Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District. The assistant general manager for YCFCWCD has informed me that: "The property is still considered private property, but we are allowing respectful walkers to still enjoy the path."

Brent Campos
Woodland


Loon and trespassing--PLEASE READ

Jim Rowoth
 

Birders—both resident and visiting:

I shouldn’t have to do this, but I am continuing to see reports that show clear evidence of TRESPASSING.  Please don’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg!

The ONLY area of Bouldin Island that is available to birding is the Highway 12 corridor—and as you know, that high traffic road is dangerous and stopping anywhere is not advised.  Any and all roads leading off the highway are private property (whether signed or not) and are absolutely, positively off-limits to the general public—and that means us, the birdwatching community.

The ONLY area of Staten Island that is available to birding is Staten Island Road as far south as the equipment shed and collapsing water tower on the west side of the road.   There is a sign there that clearly states that public access ends there.  The road further south and all levees are absolutely, positively off-limits to the general public—and that means us, the birdwatching community.  

Westgate Landing County Park is open to the public (day use fee) and allows access to the levee at the park.  Where the actual property boundary lies is not clear to me, however.

Access directly under the Tower Park bridge is fuzzy, but if you choose this site, I again recommend that you make it a brief visit (get the bird and go), and that you not turn it into a party—the fewer visitors at a time the better.  Too bad if you can’t get a “gallery quality” photo. C’est la vie.

As David Yee stated in his post on 01/17/21, good relations with property owners/management at Bouldin Island and Staten Island are essential for continued access by San Joaquin Audubon for our annual Christmas Bird Count and other bird surveys.  Please don’t spoil this for our local birding community!


Yolo Cassin’s Finches

Konshau Duman
 

Dear Birders,

Today Lynette and I saw a flock of Cassin’s Finches on Rayhouse Road at 10:24. They were in the bottom of a canyon that the road goes into at (38.898955, -122.314494). At the time we could count 16 of them conservatively but there were more calling out of sight. After 25 minutes all the finches had left the canyon and flew along the mountain to the northeast. Bart Wickel visited later at 12:49 and re-found them in that canyon. He also saw them going down to Fiske Creek and drinking water, counting 25 in a tree at (38.901070, -122.311487). Unfortunately when we were on our way out around 16:00 they were gone. Based on our observations and Bart’s we can say that they came into the bottom of the canyon and left twice today so there may be hope of seeing them there again tomorrow. 

Good Luck!

Best,

Konshau Duman & Lynette Williams
Galt, CA 


Re: Baikal Teal

Bruce Deuel
 

The answer is no, there were no postings.  Up until the 2005 bird in So. Cal. all California's records of Baikal Teal were of hunter shot birds, and none of them were seen by anybody else before hand.

Bruce Deuel
Red Bluff



From: "Dawn Garcia" <avifan59@...>
To: "centralvalleybirds" <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Sent: Saturday, January 23, 2021 10:18:02 AM
Subject: Re: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal

I'm curious if there were any postings about this bird prior to it being shot?  It reminds me of the Long-tailed duck in Oroville that was found on the Oroville CBC, posted about (ebird, CVB,other?) for a couple of weeks and then a friend and I saw it shot. CDWF said there was a group of poachers in Oroville that would target rare waterfowl for their personal collections. And they would check birding lists to help them target those birds. It was an eye-opener for me. In this case, the shooting was illegal because it was killed in a state park. CSU Chico ended up with duck for the museum.
Does anyone know if the teal might have been targeted for its rarity?

Dawn Garcia
Dana Point, CA


"when I walk with nature, my joy is full, my soul is free!"
  Lola


Re: Baikal Teal

Dawn Garcia
 

I'm curious if there were any postings about this bird prior to it being shot?  It reminds me of the Long-tailed duck in Oroville that was found on the Oroville CBC, posted about (ebird, CVB,other?) for a couple of weeks and then a friend and I saw it shot. CDWF said there was a group of poachers in Oroville that would target rare waterfowl for their personal collections. And they would check birding lists to help them target those birds. It was an eye-opener for me. In this case, the shooting was illegal because it was killed in a state park. CSU Chico ended up with duck for the museum.
Does anyone know if the teal might have been targeted for its rarity?

Dawn Garcia
Dana Point, CA


"when I walk with nature, my joy is full, my soul is free!"
  Lola


Pine Siskins - Salmonella

Sally M. Walters
 

Apologies for this duplicate message and the late posting: There have been several emails noting Pine Siskins dying from Salmonella. While this is not normal, it has occurred in the past. The advice is to remove feeders and water for the next few weeks. I am now scattering seed in my yard in leaf duff and near shrubbery per advice below. 

California Department of Fish and Game posted this on their website as a reference.
REMOVE FEEDERS AND WATER for 14 days if you have dead or dying birds. Wash feeders and birdbaths with Clorox solution and wash your hands - Salmonella is everywhere. If the birds are alive contact your local Human Society.

National Audubon: "The best advice if you observe sick birds is to take down feeders [and remove water] to help the birds “social distance”. By taking feeders down for 14 days, we help the birds disperse and limit their exposure through concentrated feeding. Remember that the very best way to support birds in our yards and neighborhoods is with native plants and leaving leaf litter alone because natural foraging behavior doesn’t create the same high disease transmission risk that bird feeders do.” https://audubonportland.org/blog/help-pine-siskins-by-practicing-safe-bird-feeding/

Sally M Walters
Retired Wildlife Biologist
Past President of Sacramento Audubon



Re: Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

Steve Pagliughi
 

 
To clarify, the daily limit on ducks is 7 (and the regulation language is "ducks"). Therefore, any duck that happens to show up can be harvested but one hunter would only be allowed to harvest 7 per day. Keep in mind that the regulations also state how many ducks of certain species can be harvested per day and count towards the daily bag limit of 7 (e.g., only 1 pintail is allowed to be harvested per day). However, species that dont occur here frequently are not included in this language so 7 Baikal Teal could be legally harvested by one hunter in one day.
 
Same applies to geese.

Steve Pagliughi
 

On Thursday, January 21, 2021, 05:25:09 PM PST, Clifford Hawley <yellowhammerca@...> wrote:
 
 
My understanding is that the way state game laws are written that unless there is a bag limit on a duck or goose species it can be shot. Since Baikal Teal is not expected to even be here there is no bag limit so it is legal to take. 

Cliff Hawley
Sacramento, CA

On Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 5:20 PM Larry Jordan <thelarryjordan@...> wrote:
Just a question. Is it legal to shoot a non-native (vagrant) species in the US?
Larry

On Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 3:11 PM Andy Engilis via groups.io <aengilisjr=ucdavis.edu@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the bird with CDWF help we are on the track of that bird now.  Andy
 
 

From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> on behalf of rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 AM
To: Central Valley Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County
 
Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 
 
 
Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek

 

 


--

Clifford Hawley 
Sacramento, CA

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


Re: Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

John Muegge
 

Federal Migratory Game Bird Laws, not state determine the bag limits on certain species and totals for
all species of waterfowl in California.  In the zone that this bird was shot, the total duck bag limit is 7. This bird, even though not expected, would still be included in the general duck bag limit for the zone that it was killed.

John C. Muegge
Redding



On Thursday, January 21, 2021, 5:25:04 PM PST, Clifford Hawley <yellowhammerca@...> wrote:


My understanding is that the way state game laws are written that unless there is a bag limit on a duck or goose species it can be shot. Since Baikal Teal is not expected to even be here there is no bag limit so it is legal to take. 

Cliff Hawley
Sacramento, CA

On Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 5:20 PM Larry Jordan <thelarryjordan@...> wrote:
Just a question. Is it legal to shoot a non-native (vagrant) species in the US?
Larry


On Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 3:11 PM Andy Engilis via groups.io <aengilisjr=ucdavis.edu@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the bird with CDWF help we are on the track of that bird now.  Andy


From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> on behalf of rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 AM
To: Central Valley Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County
 
Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


--

Clifford Hawley 
Sacramento, CA

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


Re: Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

Clifford Hawley
 

My understanding is that the way state game laws are written that unless there is a bag limit on a duck or goose species it can be shot. Since Baikal Teal is not expected to even be here there is no bag limit so it is legal to take. 

Cliff Hawley
Sacramento, CA

On Thu, Jan 21, 2021, 5:20 PM Larry Jordan <thelarryjordan@...> wrote:
Just a question. Is it legal to shoot a non-native (vagrant) species in the US?
Larry


On Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 3:11 PM Andy Engilis via groups.io <aengilisjr=ucdavis.edu@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the bird with CDWF help we are on the track of that bird now.  Andy


From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> on behalf of rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 AM
To: Central Valley Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County
 
Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


--

Clifford Hawley 
Sacramento, CA

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


Re: Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

Larry Jordan
 

Just a question. Is it legal to shoot a non-native (vagrant) species in the US?
Larry


On Thu, Jan 21, 2021 at 3:11 PM Andy Engilis via groups.io <aengilisjr=ucdavis.edu@groups.io> wrote:
Thanks everyone for your feedback on the bird with CDWF help we are on the track of that bird now.  Andy


From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> on behalf of rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598=yahoo.com@groups.io>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 AM
To: Central Valley Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County
 
Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

Andy Engilis
 

Thanks everyone for your feedback on the bird with CDWF help we are on the track of that bird now.  Andy


From: centralvalleybirds@groups.io <centralvalleybirds@groups.io> on behalf of rosita94598 via groups.io <rosita94598@...>
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2021 9:49 AM
To: Central Valley Birds <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County
 
Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


yellow- billed loon

Jim Holmes
 

Still present at Terminous.  seen from under the highway 12 bridge.
It basically swam from 38.118527,-121.510005 to 38.118527,-121.510005


Thanks,

Jim Holmes
sacramento
**CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE** This e-mail communication and any attachments are for the sole use of the intended recipient and may contain information that is confidential and privileged under state and federal privacy laws. If you received this e-mail in error, be aware that any unauthorized use, disclosure, copying, or distribution is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail in error, please contact the sender immediately and destroy/delete all copies of this message.


Baikal Teal

Andy Engilis
 

Hi Gang -- I wanted to know if an ebird regional editor can help me get a message to the person who posted the report of the Baikal Teal?  I am trying all avenues to track this bird down.  Who is responsible for looking over reports for ebird records in Colusa County?  Whoever that is, can they get in touch with me?

Thanks -- Andy Engilis
aengilisjr@...
UC Davis


Short-eared Owls at Staten Island Road (San Joaquin County) - January 20, 2021

michael.bumgardner@att.net
 

My wife (Karen Bumgardner) and I had at least two short-eared owls flying west of Staten Island Road in San Joaquin County yesterday at approximately 4:30 pm.  The owls were typically about 500 feet out from the road in the 0.3 miles north of the 2nd residence along the road (-121.506884°/38.193030°) but occasionally approached within as little as 300 feet.  On two occasions an individual sat on the top of a t-post in a fence line that runs east-west.

 

Michael Bumgardner

Gold River, CA 95670


Yellow-billed Loon

tracy_farrington
 

At 9:15am, after staking out since 8, this morning, I finally spotted the Yellow-billed Loon
at a considerable distance to the west on the S. Mokelumne River. I scoped from levee
beneath the Hwy. 12 bridge near Tower Park Marina. Despite its distance, morning conditions
were nearly ideal with the sun at my back, no wind, and almost zero shimmer. I initially
found the bird with binoculars, and then switched to my scope to make the positive I.D.

Good birding,
Tracy Farrington
Walnut Creek


Baikal Teal shot in Colusa County

rosita94598
 

Don't know how many of you picked up on this one, but the eBird rarity message had this report late last night. 


Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Flood Road Longspurs

Ralph
 

I haven't seen this reported on any listserv yet so I will post it. Yesterday Lucas Stephenson found two LAPLAND LONGSPURS and a CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR on Flood Road in eastern San Joaquin County. I do not have a more specific location than that, but I went out looking this afternoon. I ran into Pat Paternostro on Waverly Road, Pat told me that he had not seen any longspurs but did say that he had seen a huge flock of American Pipits, Horned Larks, sparrows, etc. I found the flock Pat was talking about about 1 mile south of Flood Road. I could not pick out any longspurs but heard a "rattle" type call when the flock flushed and flew over the road just before I left. I am not certain that it was a longspur, as I am not very familiar with their calls, but it sounded like one. I never did pick up the bird visually, however.

Also on Waverly Road this afternoon, just after I talked to Pat I saw a beautiful ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK just south of Flood and on the way back I saw an adult Bald Eagle flying east along Flood, it crossed over Waverly and flew off over the hills.

Ralph Baker, Riverbank


Re: Thick-billed Fox Sparrow in Stanislaus Co.

Steve Hampton
 

Nice find. I would expect that Thick-billed Fox Sparrows breeds in the upper reaches of Stanislaus County (though I'm not sure how high it goes). They do winter in low numbers around the Central Valley (very rarely IN the Central Valley), but are most common in winter in chaparral in southern California, especially the Santa Monica Mtns west thru Santa Barbara. 

On Mon, Jan 18, 2021 at 9:59 PM Aaron Maizlish <amm.birdlists@...> wrote:
Hi All,

This is a belated report, since I finally looked at my photos this evening - and I didn’t realize how unusual this was at the time:

On January 6th I drove up Del Puerto Canyon Road and down San Antonio Road with my college-age son - with the intention of getting out of the city and away from the news for a few precious hours - and also to look at the fire damage, which turned out to be more extensive than I'd expected.

The most notable sighting from the outing was a flock of Fox Sparrows right at Adobe Springs, which is at about Mile 19 or so on Del Puerto Canyon Road. The Sparrows were at the river right above the spring then working their way up the hill a bit.  There appeared to be 4-5 sparrows of one of the interior races with gray heads and gray backs along with a couple of Sooty Fox Sparrows.   I got some photos for documentation so that I could study them later, and then we got distracted.  A trucker was filling up his tanker with spring water (high in magnesium) and listening to the news - something about an armed insurrection happening at the capitol building.  Anyway, I digress.

I’ve attached a photo of a pretty good Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (also at https://www.flickr.com/photos/amaizlish/50851596747).  Gray head and back, large conical bill with a curved culmen and a steep forehead.  I wanted to get the word out belatedly now as eBird does not have any records of Thick-billed for Stanislaus County!   Kind of surprising.


Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco, CA











--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA


Thick-billed Fox Sparrow in Stanislaus Co.

Aaron Maizlish
 

Hi All,

This is a belated report, since I finally looked at my photos this evening - and I didn’t realize how unusual this was at the time:

On January 6th I drove up Del Puerto Canyon Road and down San Antonio Road with my college-age son - with the intention of getting out of the city and away from the news for a few precious hours - and also to look at the fire damage, which turned out to be more extensive than I'd expected.

The most notable sighting from the outing was a flock of Fox Sparrows right at Adobe Springs, which is at about Mile 19 or so on Del Puerto Canyon Road. The Sparrows were at the river right above the spring then working their way up the hill a bit.  There appeared to be 4-5 sparrows of one of the interior races with gray heads and gray backs along with a couple of Sooty Fox Sparrows.   I got some photos for documentation so that I could study them later, and then we got distracted.  A trucker was filling up his tanker with spring water (high in magnesium) and listening to the news - something about an armed insurrection happening at the capitol building.  Anyway, I digress.

I’ve attached a photo of a pretty good Thick-billed Fox Sparrow (also at https://www.flickr.com/photos/amaizlish/50851596747).  Gray head and back, large conical bill with a curved culmen and a steep forehead.  I wanted to get the word out belatedly now as eBird does not have any records of Thick-billed for Stanislaus County!   Kind of surprising.


Aaron Maizlish
San Francisco, CA









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