migration update for Atascadero


Kevin Zimmer
 

After what has been a very strange, seemingly delayed Spring migration, at least in Atascadero, I’ve noted a marked uptick in migrants over the past 3 days.

Hummingbird numbers and diversity are still WAY down, but Bill Rucci has 1 Black-chinned and 3-5 female/immature male Selasphorus sp. attending his feeders as of yesterday afternoon, along with the usual Anna’s.

On Friday (4/23), an hour spent watching Graves Creek at the north end of our property, produced a number of birds coming in to bathe & drink in the early afternoon.  Notable in terms of migrants and FOS (at our place) breeding species were Pacific-slope Flycatcher (only a month late!), Cassin’s Vireo (singing), 3 Warbling Vireos in my binocular-view at one time, Black-throated Gray Warbler (1) and Wilson’s Warbler (2), Western Tanager (1 female), and Lazuli Bunting (3 males).  

On Saturday (4/24), from the same overlook of the creek, I saw 1 Golden Eagle (being harassed by one of our resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks); 1 Vaux’s Swift in the late afternoon; my FOS Swainson’s Thrush; my FOS Yellow Warbler (singing); my FOS Nashville Warbler (bathing), Western Tanager (1 heard), and Lazuli Bunting (1 male).  Total species count for the day from the property was 65 species.  

Today (4/25), despite very gloomy weather, an hour spent down at the same overlook added my FOS MacGillivray’s Warbler.


Additionally, a pair of Lawrence’s Goldfinches appears to have taken up breeding residence at the same spot – I have recorded them daily for the past 2 weeks, and the male has been singing a lot.  Ash-throated Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo and Orange-crowned Warbler are all singing persistently from spots on our property where they normally have territories, and both the Wilson’s Warbler and Yellow Warbler, although only recently arrived, are singing a lot as well.  Both Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles are present and conspicuous — it seems we have 3 pairs of each frequenting our feeders and staking out territories – as are Black-headed Grosbeaks, which are, hands-down, the most persistently vocal birds in the neighborhood right now.

The Common Raven pair that I posted about a few weeks back, is actively nesting on the PG&E tower 1/2-mile or so down the street from our place, and we continue to see them getting after any large bird (so far, including Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Peregrine Falcon and American Crow) that flies through their airspace.

Our Zonotrichia flock has dwindled considerably.  The 30+ wintering White-crowned Sparrows were down to 1 on 4/20, and all had left by 4/21.  We still have a handful of Golden-crowned, all looking very sharp in breeding dress, and I expect them to leave anytime in the next week.  If the past is any guide, the White-throated Sparrows will be the last to leave – we are still seeing all 4 (2 adults, 2 streaky immature birds) that have been with us all winter.

Pine Siskins are down to < 5 (after mid-winter numbers of 120+).

Odd to me has been the absence of American Goldfinches in our yard.  Normally, they outnumber Lessers at our feeders throughout March & April, but this year, we had only a few seen sporadically in March, and I haven’t heard or seen a single one in our yard in April.  Lawrence’s has been the most conspicuous goldfinch in the yard this month, which is bizarre (but I’m not complaining).


Kevin Zimmer
Atascadero

Join slocobirding@groups.io to automatically receive all group messages.