WINTER 2012

Gray Lodge / Sacramento / Colusa weekend 01-14+15-12 POSTED
Chase Day (formerly Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley ) 01-21-12 POSTED
Panoche Valley (Team 1) 01-28-12 POSTED
Panoche Valley (Team 2) 02-04-12 POSTED
Pescadero / Cascade Ranch 02-11-12 POSTED
Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley / Calereo Reservoir 02-25-12 POSTED
Bodega Bay 03-03-12 POSTED
Joseph D. Grant County Park 03-10-12 POSTED

Note
: Trip reports for each of the above outings will be posted on this site before the next class meeting.



Joseph D. Grant County Park 03-10-12

It was a lovely spring morning, albeit very cool. Especially for me, as I had a fever and chills. I should have stayed in bed instead of trying to lead a trip. Bad decision on my part. The flu symptoms overwhelmed me by 11, and I simply could not raise my binoculars to look at another bird, so we finished up early. At least I did.

My apologies to everyone for having to cut the trip short. I had such high hopes we would find wonderful something wonderful. I'm glad at least that after we explored the farm house and creek trail together, several folks continued birding on their own and discovered a few new day species at the lake. While we were all still together, wo members of the group reported hearing a Northern Pygmy Owl, along the upper Hotel Trail, but despite our efforts to refind it, we could not. Had I more energy, I would have wanted to spend more time in that search.

Farm House Highlights (not a complete list):
Wild Turkey
Golden Eagle
Merlin (very dark individual)
Red-breasted Sapsucker
White-throated Swift
Allen's Hummingbird
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
House Wren
Varied Thrush
California Thrasher
Fox Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Purple Finch
Pine Siskin

Grant Lake:
Common Merganser
Ring-necked Duck

 



Bodega Bay 03-03-12

Weather was clear and cool in the morning, becoming quite warm by noon. Mid afternoon was warmer still and ver pleasant. As usual, at least of late, we began at Doran Beach. There we found hundreds of Brant loafing in the shallows of the south end of the bay. We found among them many Shorebirds, primarily Willet, Sanderling and Dunlin, with Marbled Godwits, a few Long-billed Curlew and Whimbrel mixed in. Along the freshwater channel we spotted first Common Merganser, than Red-breassted Merganser. Common Loon was the most numerous, but we also found Red-throated and Pacific Loons easily during our visit. Most surprising was a White-winged Scoter female swimming very close to our group.

We strolled up the entrance road, and onto the beach where several dozen Snowy Plovers were easily found resting in depressions in the sand. When we reached the far end of the spit and examined Gulls more througly we found most of the species we anticipated: Glaucous-winged, Western, Herring, many Thayer's, a few California and Ring-billed, and many Mew.

We returned to the cars and left the park, heading up to the Tides Restaurant overlook. There Loons, Grebes and Gulls were the focus, but nothing new was located. At Diekmann's Store, we spent a while searching the budding greenery below the patio. Expectations for spring migrants were high, and in fact we did find two, but nothin rare. A gray-headed Orange-crowned Warbler and a Yellow Warbler were all we could find.

We made a couple more stops as we made our way toward Bodega Head, including a lunch break at Hole in the Head. The vantage point gave us great opportunties to watch Scoters fly in and out of the harbor, whistling wings, sliding water landings and all...

At the specatcular overlook, we looked down on the rocks where Brandt's Corrmorants displayed their weird neck plumes and beautiful blue throats, while white-flanked Pelagic Cormorants criss-crossed the water and reminded us that breeding season is definitley upon us, at least for this family of birds.

Heading back toward our starting place we stopped several times at traditional spots. Owl Canyon produced Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Bushtit, a group of sleeping Turkey Vultures, but little else. At one point we may have heard Golden-crowned Kinglet, but it never showed itself so it has been left off the list. At the neighborhood area by the small marsh, we added Brown Creeper and a Selasphorus Hummingbird species, probably Allen's, but did not end up finding Pacific Wren and only a possible Virginia Rail by voice.

Our traditional Bird Walk area at the base of Hwy 1 was a nice way to end. We had heard reports of Eurasian Wigeon, and thought we might be able to view the drake from the marsh walk. Sure enough we found a raft of Green-winged Teals in the distance and believed one of them looked different enough we began to refer to it as the Eurasian Wigeon... mistake! When a few of us made a final detour to the Doran Beach entrance road we confirmed what we feared at the start—our Eurasian Wigeon was really a Green-winged Teal... distance and heat shimmer had made the best of us. Time to go home and celebrate the birds we actually did see!

Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Brant
American Wigeon
Mallard
Green-winged Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Red-throated Loon
Pacific Loon
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Snowy Plover
Semipalmated Plover
Black Oystercatcher
Willet
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Black Turnstone
Sanderling
Least Sandpipeer
Dunlin
Mew Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Selasphorus species
Belted Kingfisher
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Brown Creeper
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Townsend's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow





 


Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley / Calero Reservoir 02-25-12

Clears skies, stiff winds and cold meant our visit to Ogier Ponds was a challenge. We managed to find most, but not all of the Gulls we hoped for. Waterfowl was surpisingly difficult to find, perhaps because they were seeking shelter along the edges of the large ponds. Still, we found Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup and Common Merganser. A single "sleeping" female Wood Duck allowed close approach and an uncommon experience to admire her iridescent plumage up close. We also found several Tree and Violt-green Swallows foraging over the pond—a nice harbinger of spring, even as we stood there shivering in the cold wind. Finally, after struggling with shaking telescopes and tear-blurred vision for quite long enough, we made our way through the Coyote Valley in search of Raptors. Conditions were more agreeable and Ferruginous Hawk along Laguna was a real highlight, as was a Golden Eagle. We finished the day at Calero Reservoir where we saw several White-throated Swifts and another Golden Eagle. Waterfowl included a raft of Common Mergansers and a single Cacklling Goose.

Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Wood Duck
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Greater Scaup
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Killdeer
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mournding Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
White-throated Swift
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch





 


Pescadero / Cascade Ranch 02-11-12

Today was a highly successful sweep of target birds. Beginning at Gazos Creek Beach, we briefly sorted through Gulls on the beach and a few Shorebirds at water's edge. Next we caravanned to Cascade Ranch were we had an all-time high count of 6 White-throated Sparrows, and our prize Harris's Sparrow. After stopping at Pescadero Beach to view the creek mouth, we located several White-winged and Black Scoters making for a trifecta for the genus. Lunch was eaten at the Johnson House just south of Half Moon Bay, after which we explored the Pilarcitos Creek mouth and located a single first-cycle Glaucous Gull. It was a great day, hampered only by drizzle and wind, which we endured just fine. We're birders, after all...




Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Brooke Miller

Gadwall
American Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Black Scoter
Bufflehead
Common Goldeneye
Red-breasted Merganser
California Quail
Red-throated Loon
Common Loon
Eared Grebe
Horned Grebe
Western Grebe
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Brandt's Cormorant
Pelagic Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Black Oystercatcher
Sanderling
Surfbird
Mew Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Thayer's Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous Gull
Common Murre
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Allen's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Steller's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Townsend's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Harris's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin





Panoche Valley (Team 2) 02-04-12

The weather today was similar to last week—clear and cool in the morning, warming by midday. Highlights were much the same as the week before, with a few differences. Most exciting was dark and light morph Ferruginous Hawk, better looks at Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, Vesper Sparrow and two Greater Roadrunners. Bald Eagles weren't bad either. As last week, we opted to skip Mercey Hot Springs and use the time we saved to work the BLM road thoroughly. So glad we did... There were a few birds seen by other groups such as Burrowing Owl and Lewis's Woodpecker, but most reports from the area were comparable to ours.


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Caroline Lambert


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Caroline Lambert


Photo: Caroline Lambert


Photo: Brooke Miller

America Wigeon
Mallard
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
California Quail
Clark's Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
White-tailed Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandipiper
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Barn Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Wrentit
Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Savannah 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
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow






Panoche Valley (Team 1) 01-28-12

Weather was fantastic and at least two other large groups were working the area, including Leslie Flynt;s Sequoia group and Lisa Myers/Freddy Howell's group. It was a productive day for us in that we located most of our targets, but not large numbers of birds.

We began at Paicines Reservoir where most of the targets were located. Common Merganser, Ring-necked Duck, Clark's Grebe, Least Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper and a few other birds were noted, however Bald Eagle and Cassin's Kingbird were not see by our group. Most surprising discovery were 2-3 Chipping Sparrows just below the fence line at the pullout.



Photo: Ashutosh Sinha

Heading down J1, we stopped where the creek crossed the road and a large wash with many small caves produced great looks at a singing Canyon Wren, and Hermit Thrush. I believe this area is called Miller Ranch.



Photo: Ashutosh Sinha

Intent on reaching the valley floor before noon, we passed many traditional spots but paused at some of them to pick up target birds. At least 2 Wilson's Sniper was found along the creek at a small farm beside the road. Summit Pond had two Hooded Mergansers and a number of domestic fowl.

Phainopepla was hard to come by, but we ended up seeing three individuals during the day in areas where mistletoe was abundant. At one such place we had a Rock Wren in full view on the ground near a fallen log... not a place we had ever seen it before, quite removed from any rock. Wild Turkey and Golden Eagle were found in the oak savannah section.



Photo: Ashutosh Sinha

Rufous-crowned Sparrow was located in one of our traditional spots where the road takes a sharp S turn and becomes a concrete slab which allows flood waters to pass. I don't know the name of this area, but it is distinctive and has never yet failed to produce the species for us. Here also was a Hairy Woodpecker and a Hutton's Vireo.

On the valley floor we stopped where the road passes through two small chain-linked enclosures on either side of the road. Both are recognized by the red slats. Here we observed the first of 3 Prairie Falcon of the day, but we also had 1 or 2 Vesper Sparrow mixed in with many Lark Sparrow and Savannah Sparrows.



Photo: Ashutosh Sinha


Photo: Ashutosh Sinha


Photo: Ashutosh Sinha


Photo: Ashutosh Sinha

Shortly past the junction with Little Panoche Road we found a spectacular dark morph Ferruginous Hawk. After that, we explored the Silver Creek area where we did not locate Mountain Plover, however, we did find several (less than 10) Mountain Bluebirds, great numbers of Tricolored Blackbirds, Horned Larks and American Pipits. Backtracking a bit and turning down New Idria Road, we stopped at the new restroom at Griswald Hills, where Leslie's Group tipped us off on a Greater Roadrunner. We refound the bird foraging on the hillside on the opposite side of the road. One Merlin sped away as we returned to the junction, but provided at least a good enough view to identify it as it sped over the field.

We drove slowly through Shotgun Pass, not hoping for much as we have only about a 10% success rate with Chukar, and skipped Mercey Hot Springs altogether. Our goal was to get up into Panoche Hills and search for sage species. There was much gunfire there, and only with difficulty did we locate Sage Sparrow near the new overlook. As we made our way back down the hills we heard, and briefly saw on Sage Thrasher at the large pullout where it says "Entering Public Lands". Northern Harrier was foraging the area as well.

When we visit the area again next week with the second half of the group, hopefully we'll be able to find a few of the birds we missed yesterday...

Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Mallard
Ring-necked Duck
Bufflehead
Hooded Merganser
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Wild Turkey
California Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Clark's Grebe
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Turkey Vulture
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Merlin
Prairie Falcon
American Coot
Killdeer
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Wilson's Snipe
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Mourning Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Anna's Hummingbird
Acorn Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
Hutton's Vireo
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Phainopepla
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Savannah 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
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow






Chase Day 01-21-12 (formerly Ogier Ponds / Coyote Valley, weather compelled a change in plans)

After reading multiple forecasts of rain, wind and cold weather, it seemed prudent to alter our plans slightly. Recent reports suggest several possible close-range destinations, the first of which is a mere mile from our home. So a last minute email to the class instructed everyone to meet at the Charleston Road Marsh where we would begin by searching the Australian Pines for Red-naped Sapsucker. We were not rewarded with that bird however we did locate two Green Heron, a male and female Hooded Mereganser, a Wilson's Snipe and an astonishing 2 (possibly 3) Northern Waterthrushes! While coloration of each birds appeared to be consistent, very pronounced differences in their behavior suggested that one might have been a female. The first bird we found was very jumpy, vocal and perched high in the willows, while another one remained silent and low. The possible third bird was somewhere between these two extremes... My thought is it might be an immature male, sticking close to the female, but not confident enough to risk asserting himself.



Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Julio Mulero





Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Julio Mulero

After this incredible encounter, we caravanned to Lake Cunningham where the Eastern Phoebe was relocated almost immediately. Beside it was also an interesting "Red" Fox Sparrow and a Red-breasted Sapsucker. Some time later we continued clockwise around the lake, and with effort, relocated the American Redstart. After that it was time to go home and warm up by the side of the fire. And maybe do some sketching...


Photo: Brooke Miller


Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Julio Mulero




Canada Goose
Cackling Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ruddy Duck
Hooded Merganser
Eared Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Whimbrel
Long-billed Curlew
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Dowitcher species
Wilson's Snipe
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Western Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-breasted Sapsucker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Chestnut-backed Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermith Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
American Pipit
Yellow-rumped Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Common Yellowthroat
Spotted Towhee
California Towhee
Savannah Sparrow
Fox Sparrow (including "Red")
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow








Gray Lodge / Sacramento / Colusa weekend 01-14+15-12

Always an exciting event, this year's north Central Valley tour was perhaps the best tour we've had yet—a huge success for a variety of reasons! Anticipation began at an elevated level because of the ultra-rare Falcated Duck. It had been present at Coluss NWR for the better part of a month. But would it still be there on the day of our visit? Only time would tell... we made careful plans, and waited.

Several folks, ourselves included, simply could not wait for Saturday, and scouted the Falcated's location on Friday afternoon prior to arrival at the hotel. It seemed that while the earliest reports found the bird by the observation platform early in the morning, more recent reports suggested it appeared only late in the afternoon... What to do?

Our welcome dinner at Marcellos was as wonderful as usual, and we made plans for the following day back at our room with the group. To make a long a little less long, we considered visiting Colusa in the morning, to give ourselves two chances at the bird, with a congingency plan to revisit the area in the afternoon. Ultimately settled on our standard itinerary: Gray Lodge first, Colusa in the afternoon. But when an early message posted to CVBirds surfaced that the Falcated has returned to its former plan and was being seen in the morning, right now, when we were more than an hour away on the platform at Gray Lodge, I started to worry, a lot... Was this an indication that it would leave the pond in the afternoon, like it had done in December? Had we made a mistake and missed our opportunity to see the bird? Again, only time would tell. In the mean time, we logged our Gray Lodge target species one by one.

Eagles, Falcons, Swans and Ibis were in abundance and pretty much where we had seen them in previous years. But no matter how many times we see these great displays of wildllife, they never cease to amaze. As we watched a flock of several hundred Tundra Swans lift off from a rice field, there was a collective gasp of delight. Unfortunately, we saw the other side of the situation, as a shot rang out, and one beautiful white bird plummeted to the water, splashing down near a hunter's blind. I began to worry, as I think we all did, about one bird in particular, the Falcated of Colusa... just one or two ponds away from some other hunter's rifle.




Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Caroline Lambert

We had a lovely picnic lunch after completing the marsh trail, exchanged information with a group from Sacramento. In order to save time, we skipped the out tour after lunch, and instead made our way to Colusa. We stopped near a particularly rocky section of the lava fields on the northwest edge of Sutter Buttes, and found a pair of Rock Wren, probably just where we left them last year. An added bonus was a spectacular adult Ferruginous Hawk soaring over the hills.

After the obligatory wrong-turn-or-two, we arrived at Colusa where our target awaited us. A group of birders were already watching it, so there was no challenge in relocating it for our group. It was just was perhaps even more beautiful than it was the day before, and a great relief to the tour leader, who could now relax, the best bird of the day, now in the bag (so to speak). Next we enjoyed extended looks at American Bittern and Great Horned Owl from our car windows, after which we made our way home, rested and celebrated with family style Thai food at Sopa Thai.



Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Caroline Lambert


Photo: Caroline Lambert

Sunday we made the drive to Sacramento NWR by way of Hwy 162 where Raptor activity was lower than previous years. Still we had great looks at White-faced Ibis, Tundar Swans, Snow Geese and Greater White-fronted Geese. The preserve itself was exciting because of a memorable encounter with a Bald Eagle perched directly overhead, not 40 feet away. Our photographers captured the amazing moment, in case no one believes the story. Again, we opted not to spend time on the auto tour, but instead simply strolled though the marsh trail before heading to Jepson Prairie. There we enjoyed distant views of Prairie Falcon and Ferruginous Hawk, and a very cold and windy lunch with leftover Thai food.






Photo: Julio Mulero


Photo: Caroline Lambert

Flannery-Robinson produced additional views of Ferruginous Hawk, as well as Horned Lark and Burrowing Owl. Unfortunately we were not rewarded with Mountain Plover, or Rough-legged Hawk, but it hardly mattered, we had more than 100 species on our list, and an ultra-rare experience for everyone.




Canada Goose
Greater White-fronted Goose
Ross's Goose
Snow Goose
Tundra Swan
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Wood Duck
Gadwall
Falcated Duck
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
American Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon
Bufflehead
Ring-necked Duck
Ruddy Duck
Ring-necked Pheasant
California Quail
Pied-billed Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
American White Pelican
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
Green Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Golden Eagle
White-tailed Kite
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
American Kestrel
Merlin
Peregrine Falcon
Prairie Falcon
American Coot
Common Gallinule
Virginia Rail
Sora
Sandhill Crane
Long-billed Curlew
Long-billed Dowitcher
Killdeer
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Wilson's Snipe
Black-necked Stilt
Greater Yellowlegs
California Gull
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Downy Woodpecker
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Loggerhead Shrike
American Crow
Common Raven
Western Scrub Jay
Yellow-billed Magpie
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Bushtit
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Rock Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
Western Bluebird
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Dark-eyed Junco
Fox Sparrow
Golden-crowned Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Brewer's Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brown-headed Blackbird
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow