Once again shorebirds
stole the show. There were good numbers of common migrant
songbirds, but with few exceptions, nothing particularly noteworthy.
A Brant spotted on Sherman Island was just the second record for
Sacramento County. Likely the same bird was being seen near
Benicia in the same time window. The first Sacramento County
record was also from Sherman Island: 2/10-19/2001.
The bird of the month
and most likely the Sacramento Area bird of the year was a Common Ringed
Plover found at the Davis Wetlands on 8/19. This was another excellent find
by Todd Easterla, a first state record, and one of few records for the Lower 48.
This species, just slightly larger and more boldly marked than a Semipalmated
Plover, put on an excellent show, calling and even allowing close approach
to see that it lacked webbing (“palmation”) between its toes. When
a rare migrant is found the day following discovery it is considered good luck,
but it is not too unusual when a bird continues for a couple of days.
This bird, however, stayed until 8/26, allowing 100+ birders to see it
and attracting considerable media attention; though it did disappoint many
traveling from outside the area by disappearing just before dozens of birders
arrived on Saturday, 8/27. Click on photos to enlarge them.
Common Ringed Plover showing the lack of webbing between toes. Photo by Todd Easterla on 8/20/2011.
Common Ringed Plover (second from right) with two Semipalmated Plovers and a Western Sandpiper. Photo by Todd Easterla on 8/20/2011.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Lincoln WTP. Photo by Linda Pittman on 8/30/2011.
Eastern Kingbird at Yolo Wildlife Area. Photo by Linda Pittman on 8/31/2011.
An Eastern Kingbird was found at the eastern edge of the Yolo
Wildlife Area on 8/30, and was seen by many through 9/1 among dozens of
Western Kingbirds. This was only the third Yolo record and
the first since 1973. More photos here:
Another excellent find
for the month was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at the Lincoln WTP on
8/29-31. This species shows up along the coast each fall in very
low numbers, but this was a first for Placer County and only the second record
for the Central Valley. Other good shorebird records include two
Snowy Plovers at the Lincoln WTP on 8/8, a Solitary Sandpiper at
Sherman Island on 8/15-16, a Solitary Sandpiper and a Semipalmated
Sandpiper at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 8/6, and a Semipalmated
Sandpiper at the Davis WTP on 8/14 and the Davis Wetlands on
Pelicans continued to be seen
throughout the summer, with four in Contra Costa County near Sherman Island on
8/14. The Lodi Sewage Ponds bird continued from 7/20 to 8/14, and
a Brown Pelican was found in West Sacramento on 8/24, continuing into
September. A flock including two Arctic Terns and 11
Common Terns over the Davis Wetlands on 8/24 was a first county record
for Arctic Tern and the largest flock of Common Terns recorded in
the county. Least Terns at the Sac Reg. WTP continued
through 8/12 after fledging three chicks. A single adult was at
the Lodi Sewage Ponds on 8/7. On 8/20, a Peregrine Falcon
was seen catching bats as they emerged at dusk from the Franklin Blvd Bridge
near CRP. Swainson’s Hawks were also making an attempt at
the bats, but were far less successful. Finally, a cooperative
juvenile Brewer’s Sparrow, allowing scope-filling views, was a nice find
at CRP on 8/20.
Many of these reports
first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserve. Visit cvbirds.org and click "Listserve"
for details. With more than 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: Dennis Cavallo,
Todd Easterla, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Frances Oliver, Linda Pittman, Ron
Pozzi, Jim Rowoth, Mary Schiedt, Susan Schneider, John Sterling, John Trochet,
Ed Whisler, and Dan Williams. Thanks to everyone for their
reports—without them, this column would not be possible.