The bird of the month was a Common Redpoll photographed at a backyard feeder in Woodland on 2/22, continuing on and off until 2/25. This first for Yolo County and the Sacramento Area was seen by several birders and photographed, but was probably not seen by most who looked, as it never developed a consistent pattern of visitation during its short stay. The (eastern) Winter Wren first found on 11/27 was refound at a closed portion of Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 2/25, but was not subsequently detected.
The continuing Falcated Duck at Colusa NWR was seen through at least 2/10, and two blue morph Ross's Geese were found on that date as well. Other interesting waterfowl, reported on 2/5 at Bridgeway Island pond in West Sacramento, included a continuing hybrid male Northern Shoveler X Blue-winged Teal, nine Blue-winged Teal, and a male looking like a Blue-winged Teal, but with a cinnamon belly. A hybrid male Blue-winged Teal X Cinnamon Teal was at Yolo Wildlife Area, also on 2/5. The Brown Pelican in West Sacramento continued through the month and a banded juvenile was seen on 2/8 at the Yolo County Landfill. Upon reporting the large readable band code, it was learned that the bird was initially picked up on Lakeville Hwy in Petaluma, banded at a rehab center, and released on 11/18 in Monterey with other pelicans.
A raptor search on 2/10 in the Dunnigan Hills north of Esparto produced 18 Northern Harriers, a Red Shouldered Hawk, 55 Red-tailed Hawks, three Ferruginous Hawks, two Golden Eagles, 27 American Kestrels, and an impressive 34 Loggerhead Shrikes. A Rough-legged Hawk, several Ferruginous Hawks, two Golden Eagles, and a Prairie Falcon were reported mid-month along Hwy 104 east of Galt. On 2/17, 6-8 Short-eared Owls were found along Rd 30 east of Davis and seen by many in the following days.
Most of the month’s gull reports came for the vicinity of the Yolo Landfill and Davis WTP. Several gulls approaching the Iceland Gull end of the spectrum (from the paler Iceland to the darker Thayer’s Gull) were reported, including an apparent nominate glaucoides on 2/12-18 (For more on this topic, visit <http://www.tertial.us/gulls/tkg.htm>). At least two Western Gulls and three Glaucous Gulls were present in February, along with up to 350 Thayer’s Gulls. A first-winter Lesser Black-backed Gull was reported from Doton’s Point at Folsom Lake on 2/1.
The Harris’s Sparrow in north Davis continued through at least 2/19, and the Harris’s Sparrow found on Desmond Rd at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 1/23 continued into early March. Apparently there were two, with one farther south on a closed road. Additional highlights included 40+ Mountain Bluebirds on private property in southeastern Sacramento County on 2/20, a Townsend’s Solitaire on Rayhouse Rd on 2/2, the continuing Black-throated Sparrow near Esparto, and a Chestnut-collared Longspur at the Valensin portion of CRP on 2/9.
Harris's Sparrow at CRP on 16 Feb 2012 by Janice Clark
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: Roger Adamson, Terry Colborn, Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Maureen Geiger, Cory Gregory, Steve Hampton, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Linda Pittman, Ron Pozzi, William Rockey, Jackie Shulters, Zach Smith, John Sterling, Dan Tankersley, John Trochet, and Magill Weber. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.