Varied Thrush and Rough-legged Hawk in Atascadero

Kevin Zimmer

At around 12:15 to 12:40 p.m. today (12/8) we had a female Varied Thrush (photographed) show briefly (2 appearances 15 minutes apart) in our backyard.  This is my first record of the species on our property since the big, nearly statewide irruption of the species 5-6 years ago (during which, we saw small numbers of Varied Thrushes in our yard on a near daily basis for a few months).

This follows on the heels of a fly-over Rough-legged Hawk yesterday (12/7) morning at about 11:00 a.m., the first time I have seen the species in Atascadero in the 30+ years we have lived here.  Rough-legged Hawk is a rare but regular wintering bird in the eastern interior of the county (e.g. Bitterwater Valley, Carrizo Plains, etc.), but quite rare anywhere west of the I-101 in our county.  This bird seemed to be migrating along the eastern slope of the Santa Lucias, and very quickly sailed off to the east toward the Salinas River Valley.

We continue to have at least 3 White-throated Sparrows (2 juveniles; 1 adult) wintering on our property, and at least one of these birds has been singing off-and-on from the riparian belt along Graves Creek next to our house.

Kevin Zimmer

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