In the spring of 2013, single Hooded Merganser chicks were delivered to veterinary clinics in both Loomis and Cool, Placer County (Stefanie Stewart, pers. com.). The nest sites of these birds are unknown, but these chicks and others found in the same area in 2011 and 2012 point to additional nesting in the region. Photo by Amber Mecum and Stefanie Stewart.
For the third year in a row, Hooded Mergansers nested at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), with a nest found in a Wood Duck box at Horseshoe Lake east of Hwy 99. A female with six chicks near the Valensin Forest at CRP on 5/21 may have been from that nest or could represent another breeding record. This species is now becoming established as a nesting bird in California and portions of the Central Valley (http://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/wb/v37n04/p0228-p0236.pdf).
Snowy Plovers were found at Folsom Lake near the Granite Bay Boat Launch on 4/6, the Woodland WTP on 4/10, and CRP on 4/28. The only Solitary Sandpiper reported was at CRP’s Cougar Wetlands on 4/27. Single Willetswere found at CRP on 4/13, the Granite Bay Boat Launch on 4/17, with seven there on 5/3, and in Sutter County on 4/23 along Marcuse Rd off Hwy 99 and along W Catlett Rd. Two Sanderlings were at the Granite Bay Boat Launch from 5/6-8 and an adult Franklin’s Gull was seen there on 4/13.
A migrating Common Poorwill was found at Yolo Grasslands Park on 5/3 and single Calliope Hummingbirds were at CRP on 4/13 and Babel Slough on 5/4. Willow Flycatchers are more easily found in fall migration, with spring reports this year at Yolo Grasslands on 5/24, the Sacramento Bypass northwest of West Sacamento on 5/23-24, the Sacramento County Bufferlands on 5/28, and Folsom on 5/29. In addition to the numerous Hammond’s Flycatcher reports, Dusky Flycatcherswere found along the Sacramento River near Greenhaven on 4/12, at CRP on 4/21, at Yolo Grasslands Park on 4/26, in Davis on 5/9, at Paradise Beach on 5/11, and at E Portal Park in Sacramento on 5/13. Gray Flycatchers were at the Sacramento Bypass on 5/3 and 5/13, Paradise Beach on 5/11, and Sailor Bar on 5/16. A hatch year Say’s Phoebe at Bobcat Ranch west of Winters on 5/17 may have come from a nest nearby.
A Bell’s Vireo at the Bufferlands on 4/29-30 raised hopes that it might try to nest, but was it was not subsequently found. A Bell’s Vireo was found at YBWA (Putah Creek Sinks) on 5/9 where nesting was attempted in 2010 and 2011. A Plumbeous Vireo was reported at Willowbank Ditch in Davis on 5/9. Brown Creepers nested along Putah Creek upstream of Winters were they have in previous years and a late Pacific Wrenwas at CRP on 4/21. A Northern Parula was singing at the Point along the River Walk at CRP on 5/11 and a Green-tailed Towhee was found on 5/7 at the Sacramento Bypass. There were multiple Brewer’s Sparrows reports, with the first at Don Nottoli Park in Elk Grove on 4/2-17 and at the surprisingly late date of 5/28; additional reports include Michigan Bar Rd on 4/6-7 and 4/24, and Meiss Rd from 4/13-23, with an impressive six on 4/23. Vesper Sparrows were found on Michigan Bar Rd on 4/7 and Meiss Rd on 4/13 and 4/27, with multiple Grasshopper Sparrows also found on Meiss Rd (http://lsp.smugmug.com/Birds/Towhees/15596771_7tPssK#!i=2471988869&k=K75QRPw). A Black-throated Sparrow was reported in Lincoln on 5/3, White-throated Sparrow reports were particularly numerous, the continuing Harris’s Sparrow in N Davis was last seen on 4/9, and two male Lark Buntings were reported on Yolo County Rd 38 southeast of Davis on 5/6. Both Red-breasted Nuthatches and Pine Siskinslingered well into May at multiple locations and a Red Crossbill was reported in Davis on 4/29.
The Sacramento Area is roughly defined as lying between Hwy 20 to the north, Hwy 12 to the south, and the 1000’ 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 eBird. It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Ashley Casey, Jenner Davidson, Scott Dietrich, Chris Dunford, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Tim Fitzer, Claire Gallagher, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Ron Melcer, Frances Oliver, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Jim Rowoth, John Sterling, Stefanie Stewart, Kevin Thomas, John Trochet, Daniel Welsh, and Hillary White. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.