The highlight of the month came on the last day of the year with a Long-tailed Duck (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21103370) found downstream of Sailor Bar on the American River Parkway (ARP), the same spot where one was found 20 years earlier. Other interesting waterfowl included the Falcated Duck at Colusa NWR continuing into January (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21093311), a high of 34 Blue-winged Teal at Bridgeway Island Pond in West Sacramento on 12/31, a female/immature Red-breasted Merganser at the same location also on 12/31, another Red-breasted Merganser on Folsom Lake on 12/7, and another continuing from November on ARP into January (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S20949556). An impressive total of 137 Hooded Mergansers were found on the 12/14 Putah Creek CBC. A Red-throated Loon and possibly twoPacific Loons were reported on Folsom Lake 12/4-7, and a Red-necked Grebe was on Lake Berryessa on 12/14.
Rough-legged Hawks were not widespread this month, with reports limited to one found on 12/13 (and continuing) near the intersection of Yolo County Rds 103 and 28H and up to three reported off Payen Rd south of Folsom, beginning on 12/22. Six Swainson’s Hawks, a rare winter bird in the Delta, and a Ferruginous Hawk were along Hwy 12 just west of Lodi on 12/27. At least threeGlaucous Gulls were in Yolo County, with an adult at the Davis WTP on 12/6 and the Yolo Bypass on 12/27, and two 2nd cycle birds were in the vicinity of the Landfill and WTP. On 12/14 a Greater Roadrunner near Rds 31 and 91A was just the third Putah Creek CBC record. Band-tailed Pigeons continued in impressive numbers, with over 200 recorded on 12/1 and 12/29 at Michigan Bar (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bewellandthrive/16142185065). The two male Costa's Hummingbirds (Putah Creek between Davis and Winters and the other in South Sacramento) continued, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was photographed on 12/4 in the Hollywood Park neighborhood of Sacramento (https://picasaweb.google.com/113364264343827160307/YellowBelliedSapsucker141204).
An amazing 292 Steller’s Jays were reported on the Putah Creek CBC (previous high of 78), though they were slightly less widespread in the region than they had been a month earlier. Other interesting songbirds included a Hammond’s Flycatcher at William Land Park on 12/12 (with probably the same bird continuing on 12/31), a Cliff Swallow at the Yolo Bypass on 12/27, and an American Dipper (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bewellandthrive/15786020448) at the traditional location below the Hwy 128 bridge in the Putah Creek Canyon from 12/7 throughout December.Varied Thrushes were widespread, with moderate to shockingly high numbers. An example of the latter was 85 counted in one area of William Land Park on 12/14 and other reports of over 60 in view at one time. A Black-and-white Warbler was found on 12/27 along Babel Slough Rd and continuing into January; a Chipping Sparrow was at Teal Bend Golf Course on the same date; fiveWestern Tanagers were in the same tree in William Land Park on 12/17, and Pine Siskinscontinued to be numerous and widespread.
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: Roger Adamson, Dan Airola, Lyann Comrack, Matthew Dodder, Leo Edson, Gil Ewing, Tim Fitzer, Cory Gregory, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Jim Holmes, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Jolie Lipsig, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Mark Sawyer, Charles Smith, Kirk Swenson, Craig Swolgaard, John Trochet, Bruce Webb, Amy Welsh, Dan Welsh, and Deb Weston. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.