Dry weather continued through most of the month with warm, calm, and sunny days. While many took advantage of the beautiful weather to get out in the field, much-need rain finally came at month's-end, easing fears of another round of devastating fires. A Brant at the Woodland WTP and environs on 11/6-7 was a first Yolo County record (https://ebird.org/checklist/S61252232). A hybrid Blue-winged Teal x Northern Shoveler male was found for the second year in a row at the Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 11/9, and two Redheads at CRP's Lost Slough Wetlands were a nice find for Sacramento County, where they are far less regular than in Yolo County.
In contrast to recent months, unusual shorebird records did not steal the show despite good numbers where habitat was available. A few Western Sandpipers, rare after mid-October, did linger through the end of the month at the Woodland WTP and at the Sacramento Regional WTP, with a high of seven toward the end of the month. First-cycle Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed gulls were reported at the Yolo County Landfill (https://ebird.org/checklist/S61501836), beginning on 11/16, while a first-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull was reported near the Nimbus Hatchery on 11/29. Approximately ten Long-eared Owls were found at a communal roost on 11/30 at the same location as the previous winter on a portion of CRP with restricted access.
One of the month's highlights came in the form of a Tropical Kingbird found along Sherman Island East Levee Rd on 11/23. Only the third record for Sacramento County, and the first seen by many observers, viewing was still difficult because of a lack of parking and private property concerns at the remote location. Greater access difficulty surrounded a more unexpected species: Yolo County's first Pygmy Nuthatch was found in West Sacramento on 11/21 where it persisted for a few days along a railroad line behind the police station. The young male Vermilion Flycatcher found at Tanzanite Park in Natomas on 10/30 continued to at least late November. Other interesting finds included a "Western Flycatcher" (Pacific-slope Flycatcher expected) at CRP's Lost Slough on 11/2; a Cassin's Vireo along CRP's River Walk on 11/9; the returning Swamp Sparrow at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (https://ebird.org/checklist/S61470997), and a long-overdue first Swamp Sparrow at the Sacramento Regional WTP Bufferlands on 11/26; an Evening Grosbeak in Carmichael on 11/26; and calling flyover Red Crossbills near the Gristmill access to the American River Parkway on 11/1, east Davis on 11/3, and the Arden neighborhood in Sacramento on 11/4 . The Worm-eating Warbler found in southeastern Davis on 10/27 at San Marino Park continued through at least 11/16 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S61225936).
The Sacramento Area is roughly defined as lying between Hwy 20 to the north, Hwy 12 to the south, and the 1000-foot contour to the east and west, plus all of Sacramento and Yolo Counties. Many reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club listserve (cvbirds.org) and in eBird (ebird.org). It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Max Brodie, Suzanne Day, Lily Douglas, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Stephen Fettig, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Terry Hodapp, James Holmes, Scott Hoppe, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Michael Perrone, Zane Pickus, Jim Rowoth, Mark Sawyer, Steve Scott, John Sterling, Kirk Swenson, John Trochet, and Dan Williams. Thanks to everyone for their reports--without them, this column would not be possible.