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Whimbrels, Swainson's #4-6

Brad Schram
 

The pre-dawn breeze here at Deer Canyon, Arroyo Grande predicted a good
movement of migrants this morning. Numbers were indeed "good" for
swallows (Tree, Cliff) and Cedar Waxwings with uncounted low hundreds
for each. AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES were also making a push, with 35 going
by within ID range. Four LAZULI BUNTINGS flew by before 7:30, none
thereafter. Warbler numbers were modest, YELLOW-RUMPS the only ones
close enough to ID--with 44 warblers in all. The warblers were no
longer moving after about 8 am. Unidentified non-swallow passerines,
due to distance or too quick a glimpse, that moved by numbered probably
less than 200. Hummingbirds zip by northward, high overhead. No swifts
this morning.

WESTERN KINGBIRD numbers were stronger than mornings earlier this
spring, with /54/ seen by 8:30. No tanagers, grosbeaks, or orioles were
seen. One flock of approximately 20 TRI-COLORED BLACKBIRDS flew
though. No Lawrence's Goldfinches yet on the fiddleneck here this spring.

Firsts for Deer Canyon this spring included single GREAT-BLUE HERON,
NORTHERN HARRIER, & BELTED KINGFISHER. Another single PHAINOPEPLA went
by this morning--a male.

WHIMBRELS have an interesting history at Deer Canyon. Nine out of
twelve springs at this location I've seen Whimbrel flying over between
second week of April and the first week of May--but only /one day a
year/! Well, almost only one day a year. Twice I've seen an individual
Whimbrel during this period on a day following the lone Whimbrel flock.
Until today, my highest Whimbrel number here was a flock of 12. Today's
/three flocks of 16, 19, & 11 birds/ are therefore unprecedented.

Also unprecedented were the /three/ SWAINSON'S HAWKS that moved through
between 8 and 8:30--one full adult, one sub-adult (both light phase) and
one too distant to be sure. This brings the season total to six here, a
Deer Canyon record. One moved north lazily with occasional detours to
catch a dragonfly with its feet and then feed on the wing. It did this
6-10 times as I watched...very cool. Dragonflies (a darner of some
species) and Monarch Butterflies are likewise moving north high
overhead--more dragons than Monarchs.

Brad Schram
Arroyo Grande