Widespread reports of common migrant shorebirds and songbirds accounted for most of the activity this month. Several rare shorebird reports were most notable, including two Snowy Plovers in Colusa County along Husted Rd south of Hwy 20 on 8/26, a Willet at Sherman Island in southwestern Sacramento County on 8/11, four juvenile Red Knots at the Yolo Wildlife Area (YWA) on 8/26, a Sanderling at the Sacramento Reg. WTP on 8/4, and a juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper at the Farmers Central Pond near the Woodland WTP on 8/14-15. An adult male Ruff at the Woodland WTP molting out of breeding plumage on 8/1-2 may have been the same bird as the Ruff found at YWA on 8/26-27.
Sanderling with Least Sandpiper at Sac Reg WTP.
Sanderling, Aug 4, at Sac Reg WTP. Photos by Chris Conard
An immature Hooded Merganser at the Davis Wetlands (DW) on 8/31 is consistent with the continuing expansion of this species in the region. Brown Pelican reports continued, with one along the Sacramento River north of the Rio Vista Bridge on 8/11, and three the same day in the San Joaquin River off of Sherman Island. Additional reports came from DW on 8/25 and YWA on 8/27-30. Up to two Least Bitterns were detected at Mather Lake from 7/4 through the end of August. Large communal roosts of White-tailed Kites were reported, with 250 in Elverta in early August and up to 128 in Wilton in late August.
A Long-eared Owl was found roosting in willows along with numerous Barn Owls at Mather Lake on 8/5-26. An immature/female Calliope Hummingbird was reported in East Sacramento on 8/22, and another was found at the Colusa NWR on 8/26. Interesting songbird reports from Cosumnes River Preserve included an early Ruby-crowned Kinglet on 8/19, a large grayish Hermit Thrush typical of breeders in the western mountains on the early date of 8/25, and a “ratty” Northern Parula near the visitor center on 8/11. An early White-crowned Sparrow was found along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 8/30. Immature male Summer Tanagers were reported on 8/10-25 along Putah Creek between Winters and Davis, and in North Davis on 8/15. A gorgeous male Indigo Bunting (see below) at the Sacramento Bypass off Yolo County Rd 126 on 8/4-19 was seen by many, and female and juvenile buntings in the area suggest that it may have bred locally—possibly with a female Lazuli Bunting.
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 are included. 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: Dan Airola, Bruce Deuel, Todd Easterla, Leo Edson, Gil Ewing, Maureen Geiger, Kevin Guse, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Keiller Kyle, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Phil Lutz, Frances Oliver, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Will Rockey, Jim Rowoth, Don Schmoldt, John Sterling, John Trochet, and Ed Whisler. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.