Date   

Sacramento County Black-throated Sparrow on Michigan Bar

Lily Douglas
 

Hi all,

I just had a Black-throated Sparrow in a flock of Savannahs at the high end of Michigan Bar Road (38.5352749, -121.0441617)

Lily Douglas
Sacramento, CA


--
Lily Douglas
Sacramento, CA
ldouglas14@gmail.com


Cassin's Kingbirds Building Nest

Sal
 

Xavier Sandoval and I went to Orestimba Creek this morning and found confirmation of nest building by Cassin's Kingbirds.







Sal Salerno, Modesto


lingering

Sally M. Walters
 

In my yard but not at the feeders, I had a golden-crown yesterday and today and yesterday a white crown sparrows. Both in full basic or breeding fancy attire.
Sally Walters
Sacramento


Cosumnes birds (mostly) the last week or so

Glennah Trochet
 

Dear Birders,

I've visited the preserve almost daily recently, with one morning across the river in Yolo County this past week.  That was actually my first time out of Sacramento County in more than a year.  If you are looking to read of rare finds, delete now.  Water for shorebirds is in the shortest supply in my memory at the preserve.  (Also in the shortest supply in my memory are mosquitoes.)  Fortunately for birders, what shorebird water there is is mostly visible from Franklin Blvd. and Desmond Rd.

On Saturday, the 3rd of April, I made my first birding outing in about 10 days owing to back problems.  My first stop was the tule patch on the north side of Lost Slough East.  An American bittern, no longer to be had with little difficulty, was a pleasing find.  There were a few hundred common shorebirds, and about 07:00 a peregrine made a low pass through them but didn't seem intent on a kill.  I next visited behind the Farm Center gate, where, excepting one small, shallow pond south of Alex's house (itself now dry), there was no longer any water on any of the fields.  The greenery had exploded in my absence, and even buttonwillow was leafing out.  Most woodland species seemed scarce for this date, and the Love Shack and the Accidental Forest (35 degrees 45 minutes after sunrise) were really quiet.  The highlights and a lowlight:
bald eagle nest had two small young
Pacific-slope flycatcher-  one (FOS)
varied thrush-  one singing just east of the pump
pine siskin-  one fly-over
white-throated sparrow-  one
one black rat in daylight- the lowlight

I ran into Lynn Williams and Konshau Duman near the pump station on Wood Duck Slough.  They had a male calliope hummingbird earlier that morning.

On Sunday the 4th I did the monthly bird survey on Lost Slough.  I turned up 94 species.  The fun started early, with a nice look at Jupiter and its Galilean satellites well before sunrise.  Enjoyably, there were lots of shorebirds to look through, though I failed to find any of note.  Better finds included the following:
blue-winged teal-  6
purple finch-  1
sooty fox sparrow-  1 (major egress from Tall Forest apparent the previous day)
yellow-rumped warbler-  350+ (almost everywhere in the trees on the southern and western sides of the survey route)

On Tuesday the 6th I was back behind the Farm Center gate, where a pleasant spring morning was more notable for butterflies and mammals than for birds.  I made a pre-dawn stop at the shack, and there was still a flock of
yellow-billed magpies.  I would have expected them to have moved out to nest somewhere else.  There were at least 8-10, but I left before they dispersed for breakfast, and there could have been many more than that. The warm and dry winter seems to have agreed with western tiger swallowtails especially.  The swallowtails were abundant again today.  They were my favorite butterfly when I was chasing them as a four-year-old.  They haven't fallen far from the top of my list of favorites as a septuagenarian.  I pulled one that was stuck from a spider's web.  In the few seconds that I had it in my hand admiring it, another got stuck in the same web.  The spider fortuitously had its web right in front of a spray of native blackberry flowers, and there were several other insects in it.  The shack hosted a handful of anise swallowtails in late morning.  I'm not sure what it is that makes it the most reliable spot for that particular species.  I also had my FOS Lorquin's admirals today, plus other stuff that's been abroad for awhile now.  Among the mammals, things I don't pick up regularly included Virginia opossum and bobcat.

I walked early down the west side road, hoping for but not finding chipping sparrow and Oregon junco.  The birds were highlighted by a singing hermit thrush, my favorite songster in western North America.  Winter sparrow numbers have plummeted in the forest, excepting now Lincoln's sparrows.  They were hard to come by a month ago, but no longer.  The only winter bird of note was a varied thrush, heard calling only.  I saw Hutton's vireo, tree swallow, American robin, house finch and spotted towhee carrying nesting material.  Cowbirds, at a dozen, were in double figures for the first time this season.  At the eagle nest, I could see only one youngster's head this day.  I did find two acorn woodpeckers after having missed them on recent visits.

I visited Yolo County on Wednesday morning to visit with Geoff Hill, a friend from New Mexico days half a lifetime ago.  Geoff has for more than 20 years been a professor at Auburn University and he's out here trapping white-crowned sparrows for a migration physiology study.  Between trapping sessions we birded the Putah Creek Reserve near Pedrick Road.  We had a couple of neotrops that were FOS for me, Nashville warbler and Wilson's warbler.  One one of the previous mornings of trapping, Geoff had a Harris's sparrow.  He saw it only once that day despite the apparent stability of the Zonotrichia flock at that site.

On Thursday the 8th, I visited the barn ponds, walked the River Walk public trail (most but not all), sat by two big radish patches NW of Tall Forest, and concluded by walking a loop on the west side of Tall Forest from Oak Island to the river, then along WDS to the cross road N of Warbler Woods and back to Oak Island.  The best birding was at the Barn ponds in the far southeast,
where I picked up a female blue-winged teal and among legions of
common shorebirds one each of solitary sandpiper and lesser
yellowlegs.  I walked the trees along Tehuecheme Slough NE of the
Point, hoping to score settled juncoes, but the only pair I saw was
along the trail just east of the elevated railroad tracks.  On the
east side of The Point, in the first sun in the tree tops, I found a
Nashville warbler.  I picked up a Wilson's warbler near Oak Island,
where the most interesting thing, actually, was a turkey fight.  Five
gobblers allowed me to drive up to within 20- 25 feet (!).  Three were
merely observers (egging on the protagonists?) while the other two
fought something like giraffes!  They would each swing his neck into
the other's and hit with either the neck or the bill.  One of them
latched on with a bite and clubbed the bitten one with his wings.
After about 10-15 seconds I guess I was just too close, and they broke
off and loped away- they made no mad dash as I might have expected. I spent about 40 minutes looking for calliope hummingbirds at the
radish patches, but I saw no hummers.   It's been a long while since this has worked for me, but I cannot recall having seen a calliope hummingbird at Cosumnes except at flowering radishes.

I had a nice outing on Friday north of Twin Cities Road at Denier, mostly in and around Shaw Forest.  A laughable, unbelievable highlight was a black-tailed jackrabbit.  I hadn't seen one on the preserve in going on two years!  The few migrants included five Nashville warblers and one Wilson's warbler.  A circumnavigation of the forest brought me to many large patches of radish, one of which even had a hummingbird.  But it was an Anna's hummer.  I also found a big stand of lupines- very nice.  I picked up my FOS purplish copper that morning.

Then I visited Horseshoe Lake and checked the heronry.  One great blue heron nest had three fairly large young already, but it was the only one.  There were some 200 great egrets sitting in the trees, but the great majority were not at or on nests.  Nor were any other herons on nests.  The number of active double-crested cormorant nests was down from 20+/- to five.  Horseshoe Lake itself is very low, so perhaps the colony will not do well this year.

Yesterday, the 10th, I started today well before sunrise at the Twin Cities Unit on the southeast corner of I-5 and Twin Cities Road.  The highlight was an auditory one.  I was parked on the dam of the eastern impoundment, looking through my scope while hunkered low against my car, when 14 American white pelicans cruised in for a landing on that pond.  In doing so they were less than 10 feet above me (!) and the sound of the air through the slotted primaries was loud!  Very cool!!!  Also there was a singing horned lark (the nearest regularly summering birds known to me are at McCormack-Williamson Tract), a singing Savannah sparrow (both of these when it was still too dark to see), two eared grebes, a long-billed curlew (I still haven't picked up a whimbrel this season), a flock of about 25 non-bicolored blackbird red-wings (getting late for these), and only one great-tailed grackle at the most reliable spot for this species at Cosumnes.

I then made a short stop to walk the boardwalk.  Bruce Miller, a volunteer at the preserve, gave me a heads-up about a hybrid duck that he saw on Tuesday from the platform at the west end of the route, a cinnamon teal x northern shoveler male that he photographed.  I didn't see it.

After that I made my way over to the Tall Forest, parking at the equipment pad.  When I arrived a fox sparrow was singing from cover just to the east.  Other highlights included a singing Pacific-slope flycatcher, two Wilson's warblers, a singing black-throated gray warbler (I had been seeing at long intervals through the winter a male, but since this one was in song, I'll call it my FOS).  I heard two shrieking great horned owl youngsters in the forest.  I've heard them widely in wooded patches this spring.  I had an adult bald eagle flying west over Wood Duck Slough, plus the hen shading the youngster(s) in the nest.  I saw only one eaglet yesterday.

This morning, I tried to do too much around sunrise, or I spent too much time at the drying tule patch on the north side of Lost Slough East.  I found no bittern there this morning, and by the time I got to the shack a few minutes after sunrise, any magpies that may have been there were gone.  I did see a great horned owl fly in with a cottontail.  But things got better at the Accidental Forest (34 degrees with the sun already up) in that I picked up a couple each of Wilson's warblers and black-headed grosbeaks (FOS).  Nettles are superabundant this year, and I got my left hand lit up when I wasn't attentive enough.  Walking the north edge of the triangle pond vegetation netted me an empid sp., an ash-throated flycatcher (FOS), a Nashville warbler, and two more of both Wilson's warbler and black-headed grosbeak.  I then tried for a round-up of shorebirds.  I looked at Lost Slough East, the TNC Barn ponds and on Lost Slough but shorebird numbers and variety were quite poor for the date.

Best,
John Trochet
Sacramento


Cassin's Kingbirds Pairing Up

Sal
 

Rich Brown and I met up at Orestimba Creek this morning for the continuing surveys of Cassin's Kingbirds.  We found four of them, both pairs going into the same trees where we had confirmed nesting last year.

Sal Salerno, Modesto



FOS western kingbird

Sally M. Walters
 

Looking toward Bushy Lake from Costco, parked near auto garage. Heard calling looked up to see 2 flying around tall live oak.

Sally Walters Schmoldt
Sacramento CA


early Vaux swift

Michael Perrone
 

This morning at West Pond in Davis, an unusually early spring migrant Vaux's swift flew over with a small group of swallows.  An early-arriving female (by call note) Pacific-slope flycatcher was at the south end of the pond area.

Michael Perrone
Davis


Buena Vista Rec Area

Bob Barnes
 

Buena Vista Rec Area is in the southern San Joaquin Valley between Taft on the west and Interstate 5 on the east. Even with a current 184 bird species eBirded for the BVRA Hotspot, it has been significantly underbirded during eBird weeks including several weeks with no coverage at all likely resulting in the several migrant species missing from the all time BVRA bar chart list. Here are the eBird weeks with no lists ever submitted...

Apr 1-7, 8-14
May 1-7, 22-31
Jun 1-7, 8-14, 22-30
Jul 8-14
Aug 15-22
Sep 8-14, 15-21
Nov 1-7

My plan is to submit eBird lists this coming Apr 7 & 8 to get the ball rolling. I am hopeful of making it over the Sierra a few to several other times this year to fill some eBird week coverage gaps and to try to add new species to the all time bird list for BVRA. I welcome any of you to join in as you wish and as you are able.

Serving as the messenger,

Bob Barnes, Ridgecrest, Mojave Desert portion of Kern County, CLifornia


Early Calliope Hummingbird

kuschmanfred
 

Just before sunset today, first a female Rufous and then a male Calliope hummingbird arrived at one of my feeders joining several Anna’s who were tanking up for the night, always a very active time at my feeders. This is the earliest date for a Calliope in my garden. Rufous traffic has been intermittent. While initially pretty constant after the first sighting on March 3, I had not seen any for several days.


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





Fresno Riverbottom Migrants

Nathan Parmeter
 

Hello all Central Valley Birders,

This morning, I did some birdwatching at Riverbottom Park below Riverside Golf Course in Fresno. Had a very good morning, with a total of 51 species, which included a mix of late winter stragglers and early migrants. Among the highlights included 5 Kingbirds (personal FoS), a Bullock's Oriole (FoS), a Rufous Hummingbird (FoS), around 114 Waxwings (in multiple flocks, one with about 60-70), 11 Pine Siskins, and the most Orange-Crowned Warblers I have ever seen on one list (6). 


Nathan Parmeter
Fresno, CA


Lawrence’s Goldfinches along Putah Creek

Kathy Blankenship
 

All 3 species of goldfinches are taking advantage of the wildflowers in the fields just north of the dirt road along the Putah Creek Riparian area between Hopkins and Pedrick. I spotted a pair of Lawrence’s Goldfinch near the huge oak just west of Hopkins.
Good Birding!
Kathy Blankenship
Davis, CA


orioles

kuschmanfred
 

Contrary to the traditional arrival schedule at my place, Bullock’s Orioles, two males, arrived a week ago, as others in Solano County have also reported, but Hooded Orioles, usually the first to arrive, were no-shows until yesterday when first one male, then a female, and today two more males arrived.


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





Head Molt in white-crown sparrow

Sally M. Walters
 

My feeder white-crowned sparrow adults are molting their crown feathers - tiny little spikes of pin feathers.

Sally Walters Schmoldt
Sacramento CA


More Cassin's Kingbirds at Orestimba Creek

Sal
 

Daniel Gilman and I saw five Cassin's Kingbirds at the Orestimba Creek Road site this morning.  For those of you who are travelling through on I-5, this might be a nice respite and place to bird, preferably with company, for a while.

Sal Salerno, Modesto






Sharpie

Sally M. Walters
 

A sharp-shinned hawk just landed in my orange tree 5 feet up from my face! What a treat!

Sally Walters Schmoldt
Sacramento CA


Eurasian Wigeon on Putah Creek

Kathy Blankenship
 

Hi All,

I saw 2 Eurasian Wigeon drakes in Putah Creek today at Fishing Access #1.  They were floating close to the Solano side opposite the picnic area and they may have been courting a female.  I saw one drake in the same area last week.

Good Birding!
Kathy Blankenship 
Davis, CA


early migrants in Davis

Michael Perrone
 

A visit to the east end of the UC Davis Arboretum today netted a flyover western kingbird, two singing Townsend's warblers and a female, and two male black-throated gray warblers.  Orange-crowns and Audubon's warblers were numerous, but none sang.

Michael Perrone
Davis


Urban Black throated Gray Warbler

Nathan Parmeter
 

Hello all Central Valley Birders,

While taking my morning break, I briefly walked to the small plaza across the railroad tracks from Fresno City Hall and happened to see a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers moving about in one of the trees. In another tree about 15 yards away, I spotted a Black-throated Gray Warbler, which is one of my first migrants of the season. When I later went back during my afternoon break, the Yellow-rumped Warblers were still there, but the Black-throated Gray had already left. 


Nathan Parmeter
Fresno, CA


Re: Barnacle/canada hybrid photos, Camden Park, Elk Grove

Bruce Deuel
 

Hi all,
My co-author (lead author, actually) on the North American Birds paper on Cackling Goose subspecies identification (2008, NAB 62:3), Steve Mlodinow, has been studying this phenomenon in white-cheeked geese.  Here's what he said when I sent him the link to the photos: "The aberration is more common in Canada Geese and is 'normal' in B. c. maxima."  So he feels this is a genetic issue and not one of hybridization.

Cheers,
Bruce Deuel
Red Bluff


From: "Andrew Engilis, Jr." <aengilis@...>
To: "Chris Conard" <conardc@...>
Cc: "Bob Greenleaf" <rgreenleaf@...>, "centralvalleybirds" <centralvalleybirds@groups.io>
Sent: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:12:25 PM
Subject: Re: [centralvalleybirds] Barnacle/canada hybrid photos, Camden Park, Elk Grove

My 2 cents on the goose, this bird does not look like a hybrid Barnacle x Canada Goose.  More than likely a domestic cross.

On Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 3:05 PM Chris Conard <conardc@...> wrote:
Hi folks,
Probably the easiest way to view the photos is to click this link: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83959317

I don't claim any special knowledge on Barnacle x Canada Goose ID, but I would think the structure would be more Barnacle-Goose-like if it had recent Barnacle Goose ancestry. Also, the body coloration on this bird is very much like a typical large Canada. This may be a case of one of our odd feral Canadas (Giant/Moffitt's) getting more white on its head than usual. The structure looks large and lanky like one of the non-migratory Canadas that we have come to share our public spaces with in recent decades.

BTW, interesting folklore and dietary laws relating to Barnacle Geese (once thought to spawn from the goose barnacle and treated as "fish" by some): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnacle_goose

Interesting bird nonetheless,

Chris Conard
Sacramento

On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 12:19 PM Bob Greenleaf <rgreenleaf@...> wrote:
My ebird checklist containing photos of what I believe is a Barnacle x Canada goose hybrid is   S83959317. Camden Park is in Elk Grove and can be found on Google map, location can also be found on the hotspot ebird checklist.
I assume I will be told if I have mis id'd the bird. Thanks

Good Birding.

Bob Greenleaf
Elk Grove






Re: Barnacle/canada hybrid photos, Camden Park, Elk Grove

Andrew Engilis, Jr.
 

My 2 cents on the goose, this bird does not look like a hybrid Barnacle x Canada Goose.  More than likely a domestic cross.


On Tue, Mar 23, 2021, 3:05 PM Chris Conard <conardc@...> wrote:
Hi folks,

Probably the easiest way to view the photos is to click this link: https://ebird.org/checklist/S83959317

I don't claim any special knowledge on Barnacle x Canada Goose ID, but I would think the structure would be more Barnacle-Goose-like if it had recent Barnacle Goose ancestry. Also, the body coloration on this bird is very much like a typical large Canada. This may be a case of one of our odd feral Canadas (Giant/Moffitt's) getting more white on its head than usual. The structure looks large and lanky like one of the non-migratory Canadas that we have come to share our public spaces with in recent decades.

BTW, interesting folklore and dietary laws relating to Barnacle Geese (once thought to spawn from the goose barnacle and treated as "fish" by some): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnacle_goose

Interesting bird nonetheless,

Chris Conard
Sacramento

On Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 12:19 PM Bob Greenleaf <rgreenleaf@...> wrote:
My ebird checklist containing photos of what I believe is a Barnacle x Canada goose hybrid is   S83959317. Camden Park is in Elk Grove and can be found on Google map, location can also be found on the hotspot ebird checklist.
I assume I will be told if I have mis id'd the bird. Thanks

Good Birding.

Bob Greenleaf
Elk Grove




181 - 200 of 24372