During a very busy two months, the obvious standout was a Marsh Sandpiper (http://fog.ccsf.edu/~jmorlan/MarshSandpiperP1160097s.htm) found along Liberty Island Rd, south of Swan Rd, in Solano County southeast of Dixon on 4/9-12. This was only the second for California and the contiguous U.S. and the first seen by multiple observers—in this case probably more than two hundred observers. The bird was also seen flying into adjacent Yolo County. The other standout shorebird of the period was a Stilt Sandpiper in alternate plumage on a closed portion of Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 4/27.
Hooded Mergansers are continuing to establish themselves as breeding birds in our area. Two family groups were seen in mid-May along the American River Parkway (ARP). One was upstream of Howe Ave and the other was near the Gristmill access. The Howe family was closely tracked and the female appeared to lose her eight young in only three days. A Red-breasted Merganser found on the American River near the Gristmill access on 2/22 continued through 4/6. Additional shorebird highlights included a Pacific Golden-Plover at Sherman Island in southwestern Sacramento County on 4/27-29 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18102731), and single Snowy Plovers at the Yolo Landfill Pond along Rd 28H on 4/23, the Granite Bay boat launch at Folsom Lake on 4/25, and the Woodland WTP on 5/2. A Solitary Sandpiper was found at CRP on 4/17 and an impressive concentration of five or more was on a closed portion of CRP on 4/26. A Marbled Godwit was at the Regional San Bufferlands on 4/25 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18069308). The most notable gull report was a second-cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull at the Yolo County Central Landfill on 4/5.
Costa's Hummingbird by Sharon Wisecarver
A male Costa’s Hummingbird visited a south Sacramento yard from 5/31 to at least mid-June, and single Calliope Hummingbirds were reported on 4/3 in Elk Grove, 4/5 at CRP, at another site in Elk Grove on 4/7, and along Garden Hwy near Sacramento on 4/15. Gray Flycatchers were slightly more conspicuous than usual, with reports from Don Nottoli Park in Elk Grove on 4/21 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18021210), the Bufferlands on 5/2, two individuals near the Nimbus Hatchery on 5/13, and Slide Hill Park in Davis, also on 5/13. The latter site also had threeHammond’s Flycatchers and a single Dusky Flycatcher on the same date. Single Dusky Flycatcherswere also found near the Gristmill access on 5/14 and at CRP on 5/25. A singing Say’s Phoebe was a surprise for the late date of 5/12 at the Woodland WTP.
Plumbeous Vireos were reported from Slide Hill Park on 4/20, the Gristmill area of ARP on 5/12, with perhaps the same bird downstream at Larchmont Park on 5/14, and in north Davis on 5/23. Other interesting finds included a Steller’s Jay from Rayhouse Rd in Yolo County on 4/12 and 5/18, aTennessee Warbler along Putah Creek in Solano County downstream of Hwy 505 on 5/16, and a Black-and-white Warbler reported singing at the Sacramento Bypass in Yolo County on 5/24. Two Brewer’s Sparrows were along Michigan Bar Rd north of the Cosumnes River on 4/20-21, single Vesper Sparrows were along Sand Creek Rd in Colusa County on 4/5 and Latrobe Rd in Sacramento County on 4/7, the Swamp Sparrow along Putah Creek downstream of Pedrick Rd continued through 4/7, a White-throated Sparrow was found in a Davis yard at the very late date of 5/31, and the Harris’s Sparrowin north Davis off of Cortez Ave continued through 4/5. And finally, a male Indigo Bunting was found singing at the Sacramento Bypass in Yolo County on 5/25-31.
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 in eBird. It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Roger Adamson, Dan Airola, Cathy Corcoran, Chris Dunford, Andy Engilis, Cory Gregory, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Chance Hines, Sharon Kirkpatrick, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Sami LaRocca, Roger Muskat, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Jim Pompy, Ron Pozzi, John Sterling, Michael Strom, Kevin Thomas, John Trochet, Ed Whisler, Hillary White, Sharon Wisecarver, and Gary Zamzow. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.