Avoided by many because of the heat, August is one of the most productive months of the year.It rivals September as the peak month of the songbird migration, and is probably the best month of the year for shorebirding.This August was no exception.Visits to local riparian forests in the hours just after sunrise were often rewarded with good numbers of migrants.The report of a possible juvenile Red-necked Stint
at the Yolo Wildlife Area (YWA) on 8/30 sucked up all the oxygen in the
local birding community, with folks from throughout the state trying to
get a look at it.This Asian stray has only been recorded about 10 times in the state.While adults in breeding plumage are pretty straightforward, the identification of a juvenile is tricky business.If
you were lucky enough to see this bird, which was reported sporadically
into September, please send photos and written descriptions to the
California Bird Records Committee (californiabirds.org).The bird was found among thousands of Western and Least Sandpipers in partially flooded rice fields just east of the auto loop; also present were one or two Semipalmated Sandpipers and at least one Bairdís Sandpiper.
Possible juvenile Red-necked Stint at Yolo Wildlife Area, 8/30/09. Photo by Daniel Lee Brown. Click on photo for larger version.
Juvenile Least Bitterns at Yolo Wildlife Area, 8/23/09. Photo by Daniel Lee Brown. Click on photo for larger version.
There were at least two family groups of Least Bitterns in the pubic portion of YWA.One group was seen for nearly the entire month, with at least one adult and five juveniles present.These were certainly the most viewed Least Bitterns in local history, providing much happiness to those who have struggled to find these marsh skulkers in the past.Reports of Tundra Swans
on 8/18 in Olivehurst and 8/20 in Roseville are absurdly early for a
species not typically recorded in our area until late October or
November.A female Redhead at the Gristmill access of the American River Parkway (ARP) on 8/30 was a surprise in both timing and location.A juvenile Brown Pelican
was at the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District Bufferlands
on 8/4-5, providing only the fourth record for the county.
Additional Semipalmated Sandpiper
reports included one from the Sacramento Regional WTP (SRWTP) on 8/3,
two at the Woodland WTP on 8/7, and one at Cosumnes River Preserve
(CRP) on 8/18.Five Willets were at SRWTP on 8/3, with single Bairdís Sandpipers there on 8/18 and 8/24.The Franklinís Gull from last month continued at the Davis WTP through at least 8/6, with that or another also seen at Woodland WTP on 8/5.Two very early adult Herring Gulls were reported by a very experienced observer from the Gristmill access of ARP on 8/29-30. Members of the Least Tern family at SRWTP were seen through 8/7.
Notable songbirds included the continuing Red-eyed Vireo at North Pond in Davis from 7/18 to 8/15, and the Northern Parula at the same site from 7/29 to 8/8.A Dusky Flycatcher was found in north Davis on 8/26, and an out-of-season Ruby-crowned Kinglet was at CRP on 8/16, with another from Rush Ranch in Solano County around the same date.Seven Nashville Warblers at CRP is a high total for this species, which is usually more common locally in spring than fall.An American Pipit from YWA on 8/18 was very early, and a White-crowned Sparrow in Fair Oaks on 8/23 was a month ahead of schedule.Rounding out the highlights, a Summer Tanager was found in Yolo County at Rds 27 and 88, and a Rose-breasted Grosbeak
was in Fair Oaks on 8/18; these species are both now detected annually,
where only five years ago they were considered exceptional.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserv. Visit www.cvbirds.org
and click "Listserv" for details. With over 100 reports, it is
impossible to list everyone; however, I want to thank the following for
reports on the above species and for providing additional information:
Chad Aakre, Roger Adamson, Chuck Brittain, Dan Brown,
Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Maureen Geiger, Steve Hampton,
Jim Holmes, Jeri Langham, Tim Manolis, Michael Perrone, Shawn Petrash,
Vance Russell, Kathryn Sanderson, Mary Schiedt, Zach Smith, John
Sterling, John Trochet, Dan Williams, Bruce Webb, and Ed Whisler.
Thanks to everyone for their reportsówithout them, this column would
not be possible.