WINTER 2011


Pigeon Point / Cascade Ranch / Phipp's Ranch 01-08-11 POSTED
Gray Lodge NWR/ Sacramento NWR 01-15+16-11 POSTED
Panoche Valley 01-22-11 POSTED
Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley / Calero Reservoir 01-29-11 POSTED
Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass / Flannery-Robinson Roads 02-05-11 POSTED
Coyote Hills Regional Park 02-12-11 POSTED
Point Reyes NS (non-shuttle areas) 02-19-11
Princeton Harbor / Pilarcitos Creek Mouth / Skylawn 02-26-11  

Note: The trip reports below are organized in reverse chronological order (more recent report first).



Vic Fazio Yolo Bypass / Flannery-Robinson Roads 02-05-11

After staying away two years, mostly because of annual flood conditions, it was time to visit this central valley spot again. A little less rain of late, and a sunny forecast cleared us for take off once again. The weather was warm and clear most of the day but winds kicked up before lunch. All in all, a great day to be in Davis.

Beginning at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area headquarters we circled the small pond, getting aquainted with the common locals. White-crowned Sparrows dominated, with one or two Golden-crowned and Lincoln's Sparrows mixed in. We found Black and Say's Phoebes, Yellow-billed Magpie, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Downy Woodpecker, American Goldfinch and Yellow-rumped Warbler. A few folks also saw Marsh, Bewick's and House Wrens. After the attendant opened the visitors center for us to use the restrooms, we took a moment to admire the display of bird skins mounted in the conference room. Quite a nice collection!


Photo: Brooke Miller


Next we made a brief exploration of the soccer field area where earlier some folks had seen California Quail. On revisiting, we found a flock of American Pipits feeding in the fields and a selection of raptors, namely Turkey Vulture, Northern Harrier, White-tailed Kite and Red-tailed Hawk.



Photo: Brooke Miller

As before, we stopped along Chiles Road to inspect the Blackbird flocks gathered at the granary. The vast majority of the huge flock of twisting, swirling, bending and reeling particles were Red-winged and Brewer's Blackbirds. On closer examination, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and small numbers of Tricolored Blackbirds were there as well as two Yellow-headed Blackbirds, a female and a male. Kind of amazing actually, that amid all those thousands of birds we were all able to focus on two individuals!

At the preserve proper, we explored under the highway where the recenlty receeded waters exposed a nice trail. Only a few birds were found here, and no hoped-for Snipe. But Tree Swallows, Belted Kingfisher and House Sparrow were found, as well as our first fly-over Geese. Snow, Ross's and Greater White-fronted were all found.



Photo: Brooke Miller

During the caravan portion of our tour, we explored the new double-wide, two-way gravel road across the flooded rice fields. There we spotted a number of Horned Larks, American Pipits, Long-billed Curlew, Greater Yellowlegs and three species of Gull—Ring-billed, California and Herring. Our only Tundra Swan of the day was seen flying over marsh just to the east, calling, but inaudible over the sound of cars on Hwy 80.


Photo: Brooke Miller

We stopped for lunch at the usual parking lot and discovered a few other birders had the same idea. We continued to scan the ponds, finding Ruddy Duck, Green-winged and Cinnamon Teal, Northern Pintail and American Wigeon. After eating, we poked around the reeds a bit and heard both Sora and Virginia Rail. Two American Bittern flushed from the reeds and flew off suddenly, but didn't escape our day list.

By now the wind was really picking up. We parked beyond the hunting trailer, walked up to the west levy, and found little on the rice paddys except hunters decoys. A Great Horned Owl however, was a nice bonus. Continuing around the auto loop we found more Shorebirds including Black-bellied Plovers, Dunlin and Long-billed Dowitchers. Just before reaching the last big parking lot we spotted a female Great-tailed Grackle. She looked very elegant, long-legged and graceful as she foraged on the edge of the marsh. I hope the large group from Marin Audubon behind us were also able to see the bird. As we gathered here, a dozen or so Horned Larks landed in the middle of the lot, providing great looks for everyone. The Marin group suggested we stroll down a small trail off the road to look for Blue-winged Teal, but were not successful in finding any. We did however, find a Fox Sparrow.



Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller

It was off to "Flan-Rob" after that, but not before finding our first Canada Geese at Jepson Prairie Preserve. Also here was the first of 5 Burrowing Owl, at least 6 Wilson's Snipe, and 2 Ferruginous Hawks! When we finally arrived at Flan-Rob we added our season-first Merlin, an adult male eating something whie perched on a fencepost. Just behind him we counted four more Ferruginous Hawks, 2 pale adults, and 2 dark-phase. The rest of our tour through the ranch lands was slow—a Loggerhead Shrike, a handfull of Red-tailed Hawks... a Western Bluebird, but no Lark Sparrows and NO Rough-legged Hawks. Well, no matter. At the junction we had Burrowing Owl numbers 4 and 5, and at exactly 1.2 miles west of the junction we had our sunset-perfect experience with a flock of 25 Mountain Plovers! Two weeks earlier we had gotten a tip by another birder that three birds had been spending time in this freshly-plowerd field. Today, the grass was higher, and a beautiful bright green, and as we scanned we found more and more of the birds. As the sun turned to a deeper and more brilliant orange and red, a Northern Harrier flushed the birds and they flew directly over us, disappearing to the northeast. The wind turbines waved slowly to us as we drove home with the sunset beside us.


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller

Greater white-fronted Goose
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose
Canada Goose
Tundra Swan
Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Bufflehead
Ruddy Duck
California Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Virginia Rail
Sora
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Mountain Plover
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Long-billed Curlew
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flickeer
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow







Ogier Ponds / Calero Reservoir 01-29-11

We haven't visited the Ogier Ponds since March 2007, so it was high time we went again. Being earlier in the season than it was on our last trip, and with little chance of colorful breeding birds like Bullock's Oriole or Western Tanager, we worked on wintering Waterfowl, Gulls, Raptors and Sparrows. Conditions were mild and overcast, making our views of the ponds easy on the eyes.

As often happens, the gate was late in opening, so we walked in and set up scopes at the first turn out. Passing over the creek we flushed a several Common Merganser, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, and a Green Heron. Somewhere downstream we could hear a Belted Kingfisher as well. The pond was quiet, but a few birds were located along the far shore. Hooded Merganswer, Ruddy Duck, Bufflehead and Double-crested Cormorant. A few more Common Mergansers passed overhead, and way in the distance, flying from one of the big ponds, we could see seven Great-tailed Grackles headed toward Coyote Creek Park where they are often found. The relative sizes of the birds made it easy to tell males and females.

Walking along the big pond left of the road, we worked on Gulls for a while. Nothing unusual, except an interesting dearth of Western and Ring-billed, and no hoped-for Glacuous. Still, many Glaucous-winged, Thayer's and Herring and Californias were there for us to scan through. few more swimming birds were found here such as Canada Goose, Common Moorhen, Pied-billed and Western Grebe.

The northern corner of this pond has a small strip of land thick with willows. Tradiltionally this has been a good spot to look for American Bittern, but today we had something different in mind. Several weeks earlier, a Swamp Sparrow had been located here... After a brief search, we were able to relocate it by its chip notes and after some coaxing it obliged us with great, albeit fleeting views. With its secretive nature, preference for quiet marsh habitat, or other dampened shadowy areas, its rich chestnut and mohogany tones, it's one of my favorite wintering birds.



Photo: Caroline Lambert


Sketch: Matthew Dodder

After all that excitement it seemed like a good time for lunch, we returned to the cars, relocated to the air strip and walked along Coyote Creek. Little was found here, certainly no Wood Ducks or early spring arrivals like Tree Swallows. But we did see some pre-breeding behavior. European Starlings were actively investigating suitable nest holes, and an Anna's Hummingbird male was doing his best to impress a female. Here and there we heard some spring stirrings in the form of song from Bewick's Wren and Oak Titmouse, but spring is still a ways off.

Additional work around the roadside ponds and creek edges produced three species of Woodpecker, Hairy, Downy and Nuttall's, as well as our first Golden-crowned Sparrow and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It seemed as if we might as well move on to our next stop.

Caravanning through the western edge of Coyote Valley we stopped for a moment to scan the beautiful fields for Raptors. We added Loggerhead Shrike to the list, but no Ferruginous Hawk or Merlin... time is running out for the latter species if we are going to see it this term.

When we arrived at Calero we learned the trail had been closed... I'm not sure what that was about, but we took it in stride. After adding Western Bluebird to the day's list and wrapped the day up. A number of us decided to head to Lake Cunningham to find some of the recent discoveries there. We immediately found the juvenile Sandhill Crane, two Ross's Geese and two Greater White-fronted Geese foraging together on the edges of the puddle at the end of the entrance road. Despite a lenghty search we were not rewarded with the Solitary Sandpiper, but did manage to find American White Pelican, Spotted Sandpiper and our only Ring-billed Gulls of the day. There was also a pair of Red-shouldered Hawk in the nerby trees, and while we weren't so fortunate, some other birders found a Red-breasted Sapsucker along the road.


Photo: Caroline Lambert


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller

A last ditch effort to find the Solitary Sandpiper took us to Tompson Creek not far away. There we found a number of Short-billed Dowitchers, and at least eight Wilson's Snipe. It was a peculiar sensation to find oneself staring at a Wilson's Snipe and not even know it. After a moment, it magically appear against the similarly patterned background. I hope they have an easier time finding eachother when the situation requires...



Photo: Brooke Miller


Greater White-fronted Goose
Ross's Goose 2
Canada Goose 2
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal 2
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
American White Pelican 2
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle (seen by 2 at Coyote Parkways Ponds)
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Sandhill Crane 2
Killdeer
Greater Yellowlegs 2
Short-billed Dowitchers 2
Wilson's Snipe 2
Ring-billed Gull 2
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Pipit (H)
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch







Panoche Valley 01-22-11

Our annual winter tour of Panoche Valley is a cherished tradtion shared by many California birders. Part of the attraction for us is the possibillity of seeing a variety of uncommon wintering species—many of which are threatened nationwide, and some found no where else this close to home. The remainder of the appeal, some would say the majority, is the wide open landscape itself, replete with rolling ranch lands, dusty washes, waving swaths of grassland, spectacular rocky outcroppings, and of course a feeling not sommonly found today: peace.

These pristine examples of the California outdoor experience are dissappearing fast, and it is with heavy heart that I admit this lovely area too, will soon fall victim to yet another massive development: Solargen's enormous solar array. The farming lifestyle, the endless gravel roads, and the vast expanses of bare earth, the hidden waterways and bone-dry washes— the same refuges that are home, to threatened species like Ferruginous Hawk, Mountain Plover, Burrowing Owl, Loggerhead Shrike, "Oregon" Vesper Sparrow, Tricolored Blackbird, San Joaquin Kit Fox, and Leopard Lizard... will be lost.

The reality is the area will all soon be covered with the questionable virtues of solar panals. Nearly the entire valley floor will be blanketed in huge gleaming panels, forcing the image we have now into memory. They will provide much-needed electricty to the state yes, but they'll also cast shadows on a sun-baked basin, providing holds for new shade plants, robbing the native animals their ancient open landscape, everything they need to survive. New roads will be made to accommodate heavy equipment and traffic further fragmenting habitat. Altered wind patterns will change the character of the land, and the cement foundations for the panels will likely disrupt existing drainages. And what of the threatened species? They need enrmous areas to live. Developers assure us they will simply move to nearby areas... What nearby areas? I wonder.

This dismal thought of species insearch of increasingly fragmented habitat, farther and farther away from their tradtional ranges doesn't even consider the irony of a struggle between developers proposing a green energy project against environmentalists that oppose it, or the frustration of locals who desparately want nothing more than jobs yet find themselves at odds with their neighbors who want the area's heritage kept alive... It is indeed, an ugly, painful debate. One with no easy answers.

Despite the way supporters of the plan paint this image for the future, green-wash some might say, I don't believe this area is empty, nor is it under utilized. It may well be an opportunity to make good on our pledge to use clean energy. But it may also be an opportunity to find a better canvas for this paint.

For more information and how to make a contribution to help Save Panoche Valley:
Save Panoche Valley Website
Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society








Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen (seen only by the photographer)


Photo: Petersen


Photo: Petersen


Photo (cropped tightly): Petersen


Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Mountain Plover
Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Barn Owl
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Mapgie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow






Gray Lodge NWR / Sacramento NWR weekend 01-15+16-11

Day 00: Arrival
Cricket and I left work early on Friday to make the long drive up to Yuba City. We arrived late afternoon, and while we didn't opt for a stop in Martinez to see the recently reported Least Bittern, several members of the group did and reported seeing the rare bird well. Instead, we admired flocks of Sandhill Cranes, Tundra Swans and several species of Geese along Hwy 5. After checking in at the Bonanza Inn we took a short walk through the neighborhood. We hoped to find a Phainopepla among the clusters of mistletoe as Sheila and and Mr. Melnick had the year before. We searched for a few minutes without luck. We had just about given up when Mary Lorey and Joanne Lazar called to find out about our dinner plans. As I talked with them, we continued scanning the trees when a Phainopla landed in to top of one a few yards away! We considered their call the good luck we needed!

Anyway, dinner at Marcello's Italian Restaurant was excellent, and the waitress had no problem giving our big group separate bills. We returned to the hotel and after a brief discussion of the morning plands, we went to bed.

Day 01: Gray Lodge and Colusa NWR
The 6:00A buffet was very pleasant, and we were on the road by 7:00A, headed toward Gray Lodge in some of the thickest fog I can remember. We stopped along Pennington to scan the flooded rice fields for birds. Tundra Swans, Greater White-fronted and Snow/Ross's Geese were in airborne abundance, closer to earth we saw Greater Yellowlegs, Western Meadowlark and White-faced Ibis.



Photo: Eric Goodill


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

Once at the preserve, the drive in was uneventful, but at Lot 14 we began to hear and see thosands of birds. The close pond had the usual Ducks, namely Gadwall, Mallard, Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, American Wigeon, but also a small number of Blue-winged Teals and the first of 13 Eurasian Wigeons. Among the Diving Ducks present, there were Bufflehead and Ring-necked Ducks. Around the edges we found Marsh Wren, Bewick's Wren and House Wren—a nearly complete list of family representatives that would be added to when we passed through the lava fields a few hours later....

We completed the large marsh loop finding Great Horned Owl in the tangled branches of the leafless trees, and as we made our way to the observation platform we flushed two American Bitterns. It was beautiful, eerie and quiet. At the platform proper, a third-cycle Bald Eagle, complete with dark Osprey-mask, flew past us and disappeared into the mist. Just before reaching the parking area, we spotted Belted Kingfisher and a very cooperative Green Heron in the channel. No Wood Ducks, however...



Photo: Matthew Dodder


Photo: Eric Goodill


Sketch: Matthew Dodder


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

We made the 3-mile loop in our cars, stopping in various places to examine the huge collections of Waterfowl. We added 9 more Eurasian Wigeons including one female, as documented by Patty's great shot. Notice the complete lack of contrast between head and breast, bland facial expression, and no black gape! Well done people.



Photo: Patty McGann

From here we made our way to Colusa NWR, encouraged by what appeared to be clearing conditions. As we passed through the lava fields on the north side of Sutter Buttes, we found a number of birds of interest. Our first Canada Geese were in a basin below the road which also contained Tundra Swans, and a distant Bald Eagle. Loggerhead Shrikes were seen in various places, including two here. What was really cool is that our car was discussing the possiblity of Rock Wren in this strange rocky terrain... Sure enough. Next we discussed the inevitability of Elegant Trogon! You can guess how successful that was.


Photo: Patty McGann

After a navigation error we found the correct entrance to Colusa. It must have been the foggy conditions... Anyway we were losing light quickly and birds were difficult to see. The first pond however, contained another 3 Eurasian Wigeons. Next year we just have to beat 13, or challenge ourself with something more difficult.

Time for dinner at Sopa Thai Cuisine. Cricket preordered family style food, which was delicious and quite cheap. Again, after dinner, we met briefly in our room to discuss checkout and birding plans for tomorrow.

Day 02: Hwy 162, Sacramento NWR, Zamorra Road, Flannery-Robinson Roads
Today began with 07:00A departure, and a long foggy drive on Hwy 162 toward Sacramento NWR. Along the way we stopped for Bald Eagles, Tundra Swans, enormous swirling flocks of Snow and Ross's Geese, and whatever else we happened to see through the fog. We searched the flocks of Blackbirds for Yellow-headeds, but none presented themselves.



Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

At the preseve itself, we found many of the same species as the day before, but added better looks of Bald Eagle, and a few new species such as Cackling Goose, Wilson's Snipe, Peregrine Falcon, and Dunlin. Just off the parking lot we admired the numerous Ring-necked Ducks in the marsh and Lincoln's Sparrow. A few of us saw a dueling pair of Peregrine Falcons as well.



Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

As we often do, we stopped midway at the platform for a spot of tea and cookies. It just makes these cold foggy days so much nicer!


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann


Photo: Patty McGann

After lunch by the visitors center, those that decided to remain with us, joined us at Zamorra Road where we added Say's Phoebe, but could not find our other targets, namely Ferruginous Hawk or Burrowing Owl. Forget about Rough-legged Hawks. It seems that this just isn't a good year for finding that species in the valley.

Finally, we made our way to Flannery and Robinson Roads. The wide open ranch lands are traditional places to look for a variety of wintering open country birds. We found several Loggerhead Shrikes, and of course Red-tailed Hawks, but we also spotted a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk along the road. We continued to look for Mountain Plovers where they had been before, but found none. Instead a small flock of Horned Larks flew over us and landed in the field too far away to examine, BUT among them, I clearly heard a Longspur species—which one is uncertain, but most likely Lapland Longspur. We met another birder to alerted us to

Beginning on Robinson, and on the north-south section, we found our only Ferruginous Hawk for the day. It was a juvenile bird that posed nicely on a fencepost. Lark Sparrows were found in the fruit trees near the old
farm near the next corner. At least four Loggerhead Shrikes were seen along our way primarily near the barn. As we reached the far end of Robinson, we paused to search for Mountain Plovers in the traditional field. We found none there, however a flock of about 20 Horned Larks flew high over us and landed too far away for us to study, or even see. Among them we heard a Longspur sp. giving a rattling flight call but were not able to locate any of these birds on the ground. At the corner of Flannery and Robinson there was a pair of Burrowing Owls close to the fence on a small mound. Here we met another birder here who alerted us to 3 Mountain Plovers 1.1 miles west of the corner of Flannery and Robinson. We went to the area immediately and found the three birds sitting very still in a field on the south side of the road.

Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Ross's Goose
Snow Goose
Mallard
Gadwall
Northern Pintail
Greater Scaup 2
Northern Shoveler
Tundra Swan
Blue-winged Teal 1
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
American Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon
Bufflehead
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Eared Grebe 1
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern 1
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Green Heron 1
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Cooper's Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk 2
Peregrine Falcon 2
American Kestrel
White-tailed Kite 1
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
American Coot
Common Moorhen
Virginia Rail 1
Sora 1
Sandhill Crane 1
Long-billed Curlew 2
Long-billed Dowitcher
Dunlin 2
Killdeer
Mountain Bluebird
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
California Gull 2
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull 2
Rock Pigeon
Mourniing Dove
Great Horned Owl 1
Burrowing Owl 2
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Downy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark 2
Tree Swallow
Bushtit
Oak Titmouse 1
Bewick's Wren
House Wren 1
Marsh Wren
Rock Wren 2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla 0
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Calfornia Towhee
Spotted Towhee 1
Dark-eyed Junco 1
Fox Sparrow 1
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Lark Sparrow 2
Song Sparrow

Lincoln's Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Longspur sp. 2(H)
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Western Meadowlark
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch 1
House Sparrow













Pigeon Point / Cascade Ranch / Phipp's Ranch 01-08-11

Our fist stop of our coastal blitz was Pigeon Point Lighthouse for a sea watch. Highlights were Peregrine Falcon, Brandt's and Pelagic Cormorant, Black Oystercatcher and Great Blue Heron perched on the tall rock visible from the parking area, as well as the first of at least 10 White-winged Scoters. From the main platform Cricket and Eric found Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre before the rest of us arrived to join them. There were also several Red-throated and Pacific Loon in transit. Best bird for our group was a pair of Ancient Murrelet. The bird remained in a smooth water area beyond the rocks and froth, but dove repeatedly making it difficult to get extended looks. The unique gray color and dark shawl pattern were well seen, albeit for only a few seconds at a time.

At the mouth of Gazos Creek there was a goodly flock of Gulls gathered on the beach. California, Herring, Thayer's, Western, and Glaucous-winged were easy to spot in the group. A couple of Ring-billed were also among them. Just as a jogger came through and flushed the group we were turning the focus wheel on a large and pale Gull with a parallel-edged bill with a black tip... first cycle Glaucous Gull. Unfortunately, that exciting target bird was not relocated when the flock settled back down.

Cascade Ranch was really active, but we found nothing unusual. Yellow-rumped Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Ruby-crowned Kinglet. There were also quite a few Sparrows with White-Crowned, Golden-crowned, Song, Lincoln's, and Fox. Hairy Woodpecker and Hermit Thrush were heard in the eucalyptus grove. Another exciting find was a Bobcat in the field by the entrance road.

Bean Hollow was our lunch stop, and our goal was to find Northern Fulmars. After a few minutes of nothing, we spotted a Northern Fulmar off shore, bathing and making shallow dives from the surface. A moment later we spotted another and another doing much the same. A short walk along the beach toward the rock and Blue Whale carcass produces at least a dozen more Northern Fulmars feeding on what little is left of the carcass. Also present on the beach and rocks were Black Oystercatcher, Surfbird, Black Turnstone and Sanderling.

Phipp's Ranch was not as productive as hoped, however we did add American Goldfinch and American Robin to the day's list. After making the circuit through the willows, natural area and berry rows we stopped into the store, bought a few supplies to keep the goodwill going, and moved on to Hartley Farms to sample their stupendous goat cheese! Quite a day.

Mallard
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Red-breasted Merganser
California Quail
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Northern Fulmar
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Surfbird
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Common Murre
Pigeon Guillemot
Ancient Murrelet
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Eared Quetzal
Belted Kingfisher
Anna's Hummingbird
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Wrentit
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow