A very active two months with a lot of interesting birds included the second Marsh Sandpiper record for our area. Among rare waterfowl, two male Red-breasted Mergansers were found on Lake Natoma on 4/7. A Glossy Ibis (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28747903) was found at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area and seen by many from 4/2-8. North of our area, but still of interest were four Brown Pelicans soaring over the Sacramento NWR on 4/20.
An American Golden-Plover was an excellent find at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 4/24, though the bird of the period was a Marsh Sandpiper found at YBWA on 4/16-23 (http://www.wildlightphoto.com/birds/scolopacidae/tringa/masand00.html), allowing most who searched for it excellent views. A Ruff was also in the area from 4/19-20 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29073601), as were lesser notables like two Snowy Plovers. A Ruff was also found along Desmond Rd at CRP on 4/28. A Soliary Sandpiper was found in north Davis on 4/17, and there were reports from YBWA on 4/4 and 4/18-23, as well as the Orr Forest at CRP on 4/23. This was an amazing spring for Franklin’s Gull reports, with one, a probable second-winter bird, found at Colusa NWR along Abel Rd on 4/9. An adult Franklin’s Gullat CRP’s Lost Slough wetlands on 4/24 was just the second record for Sacramento County. Another was found at the Davis WTP from 4/28-5/4, and it or another was found in a field along Rd 25 near the Conaway Stock Pond on 5/16-17. Yet another Franklin’s Gull was at Folsom Lake’s Granite Bay boat launch on 5/1. On 5/23, a pair of Least Terns was found already on a nest at the Sacramento Regional WTP (SRWTP). This is the seventh year in the past nine that this species has nested at the site.
A Common Nighthawk was a nice surprise roosting along the edge of Michigan Bar Rd just before its junction with Latrobe Rd on 5/7 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S29464947). A maleCosta’s Hummingbird was an excellent find in El Dorado Hills on 5/3. A male Calliope Hummingbird was seen along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters on 4/4, and at the same location on 4/30. Others were reported from Rancho Cordova on 4/9, Michigan Bar Rd on 4/12 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S28910762), and Mather Lake on 5/8. The Hairy Woodpeckercontinued into May along Lake Natoma near the Young Woo access. Hammond’s Flycatchers andDusky Flycatchers were reported multiple times, especially in Yolo County, and Gray Flycatcherswere reported from the Gristmill access to the American River Parkway (ARP) on 5/1, Cache Creek Wild Wings Park on 5/3, and the Blue Ridge Trail on 5/9. A Plumbeous Vireo was also found at the Gristmill access on 5/1. Common Raven expansion continues, with nesting confirmed for the first time at both the UC Davis campus and the SRWTP Bufferlands.
A Townsend’s Solitaire (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28986163) was found at the YBWA on 4/16. On 4/19, another Townsend’s Solitaire was found upstream of Winters along Putah Creek, and a third was found on 5/1 near Putah Creek where it’s crossed by the extension of Mace Blvd (Rd 105). On 5/5, a late singing male Varied Thrush was found along Yolo County Rd 141 near the Bogle Winery. A singing Northern Parula was at CRP’s Tall Forest on 5/17, and a singing male Blackpoll Warbler was a first for spring in Yolo County along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 5/4. A Green-tailed Towhee was found at ARP’s Ancil Hoffman Park on 5/4. On 4/2, a sparrow looking very much like a Clay-colored Sparrow was found along Meiss Rd and apparently the same bird continued through 4/8. Many experienced birders thought the photos showed a Clay-colored Sparrow, but ultimately, it appears that the bird was likely a Brewer’s Sparrow. Up to three Brewer’s Sparrows were also reported there. Grasshopper Sparrowswere found breeding in a closed portion of CRP near Twin Cities Rd and I-5. They were first detected on 4/18, and an adult was seen feeding a stub-tailed juvenile on 5/20. An interesting White-crowned X Golden-crowned Sparrow (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S28909902) was found at Mather Lake on 4/12.
A male Summer Tanager sang almost continuously north of the Orr Forest at CRP on 5/22, which is the third consecutive year that singing males have been found at CRP. A female-type Cassin's Finch was reported along the north levee of the Sacramento Bypass on 5/13. On 4/3, 12 Red Crossbills were seen in a Fair Oaks backyard, and on the surprisingly late date of 5/24, Red Crossbills were heard and seen flying over Esparto. Five Pine Siskins were found in east Davis on 5/10, with one found on the late date of 5/31. Evening Grosbeaks were reported regularly in Davis through 4/19, and then with sporadic reports until the last report of two males on 5/8.
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: Keith Bailey, Dan Brown, Laura Davis, Lily Douglas, John Ehrenfeld, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Frank Fogarty, Brian Gilmore, Bob Greenleaf, Kevin Guse, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Doug Herr, Logan Kahle, Tony Kurz, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Sami LaRocca, Tim Lenz, Tim Manolis, Mark Martucci, Frances Oliver, Michael Perrone, Ron Pozzi, William Rockey, Jim Rowoth, Sonia Santa Anna, Mark Sawyer, Mary Schiedt, Steve Scott, John Sterling, Craig Swolgaard, Jim Thomas, John Trochet, Ed Whisler, Dan Williams, Rick Williams, and Mike Yoshihara. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.