This was a very busy month. Combining peak shorebird migration with one of the better seasons for migrant songbirds makes for a great time to get out in the field despite the heat and smoke-filled skies from regional fires. The fires in the Coast Range may have accounted for increased numbers in some Valley hotspots, such as Putah Creek. Rufous Hummingbirds were also reported in higher numbers in Sacramento, perhaps detouring from their more typical migration routes at higher elevations. Many of the interesting reports came from the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA), including multiple reports of a single Least Bittern through the first three weeks of the month. An intriguing report of a solo Chimney Swift on 8/19 came from Putah Creek dowstream of Pedrick Rd, where several of the month's highlights were found.
Shorebirds again stole the show, with only the second Yolo County record of a Buff-breasted Sandpiper at YBWA on 8/31. It was seen by many through 9/2. Other highlights included a Ruff at the Davis WTP from 8/21-22, and many Baird's Sandpipers, including singles from the Woodland WTP on 8/8 and 8/20-29, a single at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 8/14, up to three from YBWA from 8/15-22 (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S48016458), and two at the Lincoln WTP on 8/28. Pectoral Sandpipers were reported from YBWA on 8/17 and E Catlett Rd near Brewer Rd in Placer County on 8/28. Single Semipalmated Sandpiper reports came from YBWA on and off throughout the month, and a Solitary Sandpiper was found at West Pond in Davis on 8/17. The Least Tern pair at the Sacramento Regional WTP fledged one chick by 8/23 and at least one adult continued through 8/28.
A calling Yellow-billed Cuckoo was reported at Fremont Weir State Wildlife Area on 8/20, and a Greater Roadrunner was seen along Yolo County Rd 30 about a mile west of Rd 98. The Chestnut-sided Warbler along Putah Creek downstream of Pedrick Rd that was first found in July continued through at least 8/25. A Black-and-white Warbler was found at Ancil Hoffman Park in the oaks between the American River and the golf course on 8/22-25; this species has been found in August or September at the same site in four of the past five years. A Dusky Flycatcher was found at Grasslands Regional Park south of Davis on 8/27-28, and a Green-tailed Towhee and an early Golden-crowned Sparrow were at the same location on 8/25. A Green-tailed Towhee was also found dead in Carmichael on 8/30. A Bell's Sparrow found at Reichmuth Park on 8/19 represents one of very few records for the Valley floor (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S47947522). A flurry of Summer Tanager reports included one at Reichmuth Park on 8/17, another downstream of Pedrick Rd from 8/18 through the end of the month, and the male first found in May and continuing through 8/26 at the Orr Ranch portion of CRP. The Indigo Bunting found in July downstream of Pedrick Rd continued through at least 8/6, and a possible female-type Orchard Oriole was photographed at Marriott Park in the Pocket area of Sacramento on 8/22.
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 (ebird.org). It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Dan Airola, Holly Coates, Laura Davis, Lily Douglas, Jon Dunn, Leo Edson, Stephen Fettig, Robert Furrow, Maureen Geiger, Douglas Hall, Steve Hampton, Terry Hodapp, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Tim Ludwick, Mark Martucci, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Deren Ross, Mark Sawyer, Steve Scott, John Sterling, Kirk Swenson, Ian Taylor, Gene Trapp, John Trochet, and Sarah Wheeler. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.