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Sacramento county Red-naped Sapsucker continues

Emmett Iverson
 

Hey all,

Just wanted to give a heads up that Max Brodie and I refound the male Red-naped Sapsucker that was first found in early February by Gavin Stacey at Rollingwood Bluffs. It was seen here along the trail, (38.6696299, -121.1915669, before flying out to 2407 Snowberry Way where it was seen munching on camphor berries. This bird hasn't been reported since Feb 13 so it may be tricky to find but is still in the area. Red-breasted Sapsuckers are thinning out so it may only be around a little while longer.

Good birding,

Emmett Iverson
Sacramento


recent bird observations at the Cosumnes River Preserve

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

I've been out almost daily the last week or so.  Friday the 26th of February I visited behind the Farm Center gate, where it was 22 degrees F. predawn at the Accidental Forest.  Water had been drained from about half the flooded fields.  The only waterbird of note was an intergrade American green-winged teal x common teal, with both a vertical and a horizontal white bar on the side.  My purple finch spot, reliable for almost eight weeks, had none today.  Other birds of note included the following:
acorn woodpecker-  1
Say's phoebe-  1 (often gone at this date)
common raven-  2
varied thrush-  7 (widely but thinly scattered)
pine siskin-  1 (fly-over, my first in roughly four weeks)
Lincoln's sparrow-  1 (it's been a terrible year behind the gate for this one)
white-throated sparrow-  1 (with juvenal plumage aspect)
Townsend's warbler-  1

Saturday I did some of the same, but with a work agenda.  I remembered finally to bring the tools necessary to cut around, over or through six trees or major limbs that fell on trails during the storm that hit in late January.  I also pruned back the poison oak that threatens to consume another trail.  I noted incidentally the bald eagle in her nest and one varied thrush.

Sunday the 28th I visited the Denier and Whaley parcels north of Twin Cities Road.  The highlight was finding a heronry previously unknown to me.  Only great blue herons were there, but a review of Google Earth's previous images shows great egrets (well, white birds) in the heronry going back to about 2015, and none before.  A copse of large valley oaks had about 40 greater white-fronted geese well in its interior grazing on tall but fairly thinly grown grass, not a setting for geese that I'd noted before.  I walked a lot of grassland with closely cut grass and the ground already sporting large cracks.  There was a Say's phoebe out here, too.  Goose droppings were everywhere.  No wonder cattle owners near the preserve detest the large goose flocks of the last 15 years roughly.

On Monday the 1st I was back behind the Farm Center gate.  The highlight of the morning was the spring departure between 10AM and 11AM of about 2150 sandhill cranes.  Small flocks of 15- 60 would call sporadically on the move northward.  But when they found thermals and formed kettles they bugled wonderfully.  Frequently the small flocks aggregated into large flocks as the birds ascended in circles.  Eventually the cranes broke off to the NNE, to circle again in another distant thermal.  Some years I see the cranes set off after circling overhead toward some distant circling red-tailed hawk.  I didn't see such a guide on Monday.  At midday I briefly stopped at the Visitor Center, behind which an orange-crowned warbler was weakly singing.

There were other things of interest, too:
bald eagle-  2 (adults, one in the nest)
northern harrier courtship-  a pair northeast of the Tall Forest had the male doing a deep sine wave-type flight over a perched female.
acorn woodpecker-  4
yellow-billed magpie-  65+ (+ to indicate several heard but not seen flocklets (?) leaving their roost)
common raven-  7
varied thrush-  4 (one of these was repeatedly delivering the most musical rendition of song that I've heard locally- a treat)
six wood warbler taxa-  the first time this winter that I've tallied both black-throated gray and Townsend's warblers (one each) the same day.

Yesterday at midday I visited the heronry at Valensin Ranch, by far the largest on the preserve.  For the date it seemed that there wasn't much activity.  There were eight occupied great blue heron nests and two occupied black-crowned night-heron nests, plus a few great egrets and double-crested cormorants in the trees but not at nests.  It seems that many of last year's nest structures were blown from the trees since my previous visit last summer.

This morning I walked the public trails.  I found a few things of modest note:
osprey-  1 (fishing [as were a river otter and two cormorants] at the Point; only the otter was seen to be successful)
Cooper's hawk display flight where the trail first approaches the river-  slow, stiff-winged flapping with fanned undertail coverts
northern rough-winged (3) and cliff swallow (1) were my FOS; Jim Rowoth has already picked these up.
golden-crowned kinglet-  1 (at eye level in the small oaks at post #17)
purple finch-  1 (a brown bird was singing in willows at the more northerly metal bridge
Townsend's warbler-  1 in a mixed flock over the side path going to the river between posts #15 and #16.

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


spring arrival

kuschmanfred
 

Today, March 2, the first spring migration Rufous Hummingbird, an adult male, arrived in my garden and promptly took over one of my feeders from the resident Anna’s hummers that had shared it throughout the winter.


Manfred Kusch
South bank of Putah Creek
3 miles W of Davis





Mountain Plovers in Yolo County, not Colusa

rosita94598
 

It has been a long day of driving and somehow my mind became confused.  The Mountain Plovers were in Yolo County, south of County Line Road.  Sorry.  Rosita and I even joked about the line and which county was on which side.

Hugh B;. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Mountain Plovers in Colusa County today March 2

rosita94598
 

My wife, Rosita, and I drove north today looking for a few specialties.  On Hwy 45 1-1/2 miles south of County Line Road, we had Mountain Plovers on both sides of the road.  They were especially visible to the west in a field with some remnants of green plant in the freshly turned soil.  Rosita thought this was the best she has ever seen these birds.

We also spent some time in the Maxwell Cemetery without finding the Vermilion Flycatcher.  The caretaker told me that he had not seen it since last Wednesday.

We had two Bald Eagles for the day, one adult over Lone Star Road and an almost adult bird perched on the auto tour route in Sacramento NWR.

Hugh B. Harvey
Walnut Creek


Re: hybrid Greater White-fronted x Cackling Goose (?) CR 103 Pond

Steve Hampton
 

Yes, this bird is part of a family of 5 that all have some variations of this look (one looks like a giant Laysan Duck!). They've been around for a few winters. I'm not sure what hybrid they are, but GWFG x Cackling or Canada seems right. 

I saw the family yesterday at the Farmer's Central Pond on Rd 102 in Yolo County. They were also four Greater Scaup there. 



On Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 10:01 PM Denise and David Hamilton <napabirders@...> wrote:
Hi all,

Today, March 1, David and I discovered a hybrid goose today in the field adjacent to the County Road 103 pond (close to intersection with 28H)  It was mixed in with a flock of Greater White-fronted Geese (with a few Cackling and Canada Geese.)  I have listed it as a GWF x Cackling Goose hybrid, though I am not sure!  Looked through a lot of pictures of hybrids with Canada OR Cackling Geese, and the Cackling Goose seems closest.

Would appreciate any comments or thoughts!  Pictures can be found in my Ebird report.  Thank you!



Good birding,
Denise and David Hamilton
Napa



--
Steve Hampton
Davis, CA


hybrid Greater White-fronted x Cackling Goose (?) CR 103 Pond

Denise and David Hamilton
 

Hi all,

Today, March 1, David and I discovered a hybrid goose today in the field adjacent to the County Road 103 pond (close to intersection with 28H)  It was mixed in with a flock of Greater White-fronted Geese (with a few Cackling and Canada Geese.)  I have listed it as a GWF x Cackling Goose hybrid, though I am not sure!  Looked through a lot of pictures of hybrids with Canada OR Cackling Geese, and the Cackling Goose seems closest.

Would appreciate any comments or thoughts!  Pictures can be found in my Ebird report.  Thank you!



Good birding,
Denise and David Hamilton
Napa


Volunteer Bird Surveyors Request

Bob Barnes
 

Hi,

The Southern Sierra Research Station is looking for 1-2 volunteers to assist with avian point count surveys in Walker Basin/Caliente, Kern County, CA. Exact survey dates have not been decided yet, but will generally occur in April/early May (spring migration – 6 days), May/June (breeding – 3 days), and August/September (fall migration – 6 days). Volunteers will receive training on the point count protocol from SSRS staff. Housing, if needed, will be provided during surveys via an AirBnB, and volunteers will be expected to follow the Southern Sierra Research Station’s Covid-19 protocol. If interested, please send an email to Kristie Stein at kristie.stein@southernsierraresearch.org with your experience and general availability.

Thanks so much for your help,
Kristie
***************************************************
Kristie A. Stein, MS (she/her)
Research Associate
Southern Sierra Research Station
7872 Fay Ranch Road
Weldon, CA 93283


Harris’s Sparrow Putah Creek

Adam Panto
 

The Harris’s Sparrow found by Kathy Blankenship on 2/22 continued this morning near where it was originally found. This morning it was on the west side of Hopkins Road in the field at the end of the row of olive trees. It was mostly close to the fence. The wind was awful by 7:45. There are big numbers of Zonotrichia sparrows to sort through, along with other birds working on the fallen olives. Ebird report with photos here:

https://ebird.org/checklist/S82262955

Adam Panto, Placerville 


Western Gull in Butte Co.

Brewbird
 

Hi all,
I just wanted to mention, there is a Western Gull at Thermalito Afterbay in Butte County. Liam Huber found it this past Saturday on “gull island” just north of the causeway. I found it today, due north of the dirt pullout, on the access road on the east side of the causeway. I am reporting this one, since some of the reports earlier in the year ended up being hybrid birds. FYI, the weather is looking good, however it is supposed to be a very strong north wind through Wednesday. Good luck!

Michele Swartout
Red Bluff

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." - John Muir.

--
Michele Swartout
Red Bluff


Harris’s Sparrow at Putah Creek

Kathy Blankenship
 

Hi Everyone,
As I arrived at the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve this morning I found a Harris’s Sparrow associating with a flock of White Crowns near the parking area on Levee Road and Hopkins. The flock has traveled between the picnic area and the shrubs at the intersection of Hopkins and Levee.

Good Birding!
Kathy Blankenship
Davis, CA


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.

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


White-winged Scoters

Rich Howard
 

The White-winged Scoter pair is back, in the cove east of the new spillway now. Accessed from Folsom Point SRA.

Rich Howard
Carmichael, CA


Free netting for blind

Larry Montgomery
 

I have two large pieces of netting from army tents that I thought I might use for a temporary blind.  It's kind of see through, but I think it would break up visibility of the occupant.  Preference would be given for someone doing field studies.  They can be picked up just off I80 at Greenback, near Citrus Hts.
Larry Montgomery
Sacramento


Possible Dilute Plumage California Towhee at William B. Pond Rec Area Carmichael

Katharine Wagner
 

This afternoon about 4 pm I saw a very light bird shaped, sized and with behavior exactly like a California Towhee, foraging very close to a normally colored California Towhee.  After checking books when I got home, I find no other bird that it looked like, and I'm wondering whether I saw a dilute plumage individual California Towhee.  The more precise location was at William B. Pond Recreation Area, between the pond and the bridge to River Bend Park, in dense brush under small trees on the river side of the bike path.   Looks like location on Google Maps is 38.5872732, -121.3344016 . 

In the same area, there were quite a few very active Spotted Towhees, so nice to see.  I'm sorry I wasn't able to snap a photo of the above bird -- will do so if I have a chance tomorrow.  
Interested whether any experienced birder saw this bird too.  

Katharine Wagner
Sacramento, Sacramento County


interesting yellow-rumped warbler yesterday

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

In the last two or three weeks, yellow-rumped warblers have become much more numerous around the Tall Forest at the Cosumnes River Preserve in southern Sacramento County. A few are already showing some signs of pre-alternate molt. Yesterday I found an especially interesting individual showing such molt.

At first I thought this bird was missing a chunk of feathers in the right breast. In fact the feather coat was intact. The blotch was one of black feathers, which extended onto the sides and anterior flanks as 2-3 narrow black streaks. The throat, bounded laterally as is typical of Audubon’s warbler, was bright yellow on the right side and a wan yellowish on the left. The white edgings in the wing panels were slightly more extensive on the right side, too.

My best guess is that this bird is a bilateral gynandromorph. Gynandromorphy in birds is a rare condition (also known in insects and crustaceans). Several genetic mechanisms are postulated. The great majority of these birds express a male plumage on the right and a female plumage on the left. It is previously known for warblers, and there is a black-throated blue warbler gynandromorph specimen in the collection of Columbia-Greene Community College in New York State.

Neat bird!

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


Cosumnes birds of modest note in the last week or so

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

Last Friday the 5th I got a chance to visit Howard Ranch in far southeastern Sacramento County.  The exhausting day's highlights were two bobcats.  The second had coloring that endorsed as accurate the use of rufus as the specific epithet.  Two mourning cloaks were my first leps of the year.  I spent most of the day turning down logs in pursuit of herps, mostly without success.  Because I spent almost all day in wooded country with my head down, my bird list was not terrific:
ferruginous hawk-  1
Lewis's woodpecker-  39
pine siskin-  5
rufous-crowned sparrow-  1

I went by the spot that had a Steller's jay in mid-December but I didn't find it.  I didn't get to the other spots with interesting birds on that outing.  Unlike in December, the vernal pools all had water.

On Saturday the 6th I visited behind the Tall Forest and vicinity.  It was a short visit owing to lingering fatigue.  The few mentionables include:
varied thrush-  1
purple finch-  8
white-throated sparrow-  1
Townsend's warbler-  1

On Sunday I did the monthly Lost Slough bird survey.  There were a decent variety and decent numbers of waterfowl.  But excepting only yellow-rumped warblers, birds of brush and trees were hard to come by.  The day's highlights were these:
blue morph snow goose-  5 (6600+/- snows altogether)
blue-winged teal-  3
hooded merganser-  2
peregrine falcon-  2

There is a great horned owl nest that is currently visible from the small wooden deck on the west side of Franklin Boulevard west of the preserve Visitor Center.  From the deck, look south west (about 30 degrees west of south) and you'll see a nest in a cottonwood tree.  The sitting owl is visible with binoculars, but a scope really helps since the tree is 350-400 meters away.

Today I visited the Tall Forest and vicinity again.  The best bird was a common teal first seen west of the forest; likely the same bird was seen 45 minutes later northwest of the equipment pad (about 1400 meters north of where I first saw it).  The other nonpasserine species of note was bald eagle.  I heard one singing and shortly saw some courtship aerobatics over the forest.  Later in the morning I saw an adult in the nest that's been used the last three years.  Songbirds of some interest were these:
Pacific wren-  1 (my first in the interior of the Tall Forest in a few years, I think)
varied thrush-  4
phainopepla-  1 (I had missed this one on four consecutive visits)
purple finch-  2
slate-colored fox sparrow-  1
Townsend's warbler-  1

There were lots of signs of spring in the vegetation.  The recent big storm snapped off lots of trees in the forest.  Two of my usual trails need detours cut- again!

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento



Sage Thrasher continues Merced NWR

Daniel Gilman
 

Sal Salerno is having trouble posting in the field so he called me to post for him. The SAGE THRASHER found two days ago continues at Merced NWR.  Sal found it perched up on a sign in the entrance parking lot.  A very cooperative bird.

Daniel Gilman
Modesto


Both Lesser Black-backed Gulls still at Yolo County Landfill pond

Chris Dunford
 

At the Yolo County landfill pond at 12 noon today both the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull reported by Steve Hampton and others and the first-cycle immature Lesser Black-backed Gull reported by Lucas Corneliussen and Lucas and Mark Stephenson were resting and preening with the thousands of California Gulls - scoped from the levee above CR 28H. Though the weather conditions were about right for picking out the adult (overcast and low wind from the south), it was a tough assignment to pick out these birds even with 40-60x magnification. They were on the far edge of the mass of gulls, which was almost entirely to the west of the "long diagonal swale that cuts thru the pond." The two birds were widely separated and not near the diagonal swale. See Steve's post dated Feb. 4 (#24123) for details about both birds.

Chris Dunford
Davis, CA


RN Sapsucker in Sacramento County

Clifford Hawley
 

Hello birders,

I have received a couple of messages that the Red-naped Sapsucker has been present at the Tanglewood Ct location today (38.6731218, -121.1924926). Good birding. 

Clifford Hawley 
Sacramento, CA

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

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