This month was most notable for the continued reports of unprecedented numbers of Band-tailed Pigeons, Steller’s Jays, Varied Thrushes, and Pine Siskins. Most interesting among the waterfowl was a reported flyover Emperor Goose at County Line Rd at the Yolo/Colusa boundary and the Falcated Duck at Colusa NWR that continued through at least 2/17. The male Red-breasted Merganser at the Gristmill access of the American River Parkway (ARP) was reported from 1/22-2/17, and up to two Red-throated Loons were reported from various locations on Folsom Lake through 2/12. For sheer numbers, the most impressive raptor report was from Yolo County Rd 96B, between Rds 25 and 25A, where a few minutes with a scope produced 39 Red-tailed Hawks and 9 Ferruginous Hawks on 2/3.
County Line Rd east of I-5 hosted 54 Mountain Plovers, the highest number from Yolo County in many years (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21641879). A Marbled Godwit, quite rare in winter away from the coast, was found at Colusa NWR from 1/31-2/1. Gull reports were relatively few this month, with a first-cycle Western Gull at Folsom Lake’s Beals Point on 2/1 and a second-cycle Western Gull at the Yolo County Landfill Pond on 2/14 being most notable. A Greater Roadrunner reported between Davis and Winters on 2/22 where Rd 91A almost meets Rd 31 may have been the same bird seen at that location on the Putah Creek CBC. A nearby private orchard hosted a Northern Saw-whet Owl, first noticed on 2/19, and a Long-eared Owl on 2/25. The male Costa’s Hummingibird that has been reported along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters continued for another month.
The Red-naped Sapsucker found last month continued at Lake Solano through at least 2/15, and a male and female Hairy Woodpecker along Lake Natoma between Young Wo Circle and Parkshore Drive continued into March (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S21762928). A Cassin’s Vireo with a slightly deformed bill near the Gristmill access to ARP on 2/5 was a surprise for the winter season. Even more surprising was the report of calling and briefly seen Bohemian Waxwings among a huge flock of Cedar Waxwings near Carmichael on 2/7. Unfortunately they were not refound despite considerable effort. A Lark Bunting was found and photographed along Robinson Rd south of Dixon on 2/10 (http://naturalmusing.blogspot.com/2015/02/lark-bunting-solano-county.html). The Swamp Sparrow at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area was reported from 1/23 through at least 2/10, up to five White-throated Sparrows were found between the Howe and Watt accesses to ARP throughout the month, while the Harris’s Sparrow in N Davis continued, but was not always easy to find. A male Cassin's Finch was reported in Davis on Feb 10 and may have been the same bird found earlier in the winter.
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: Patricia Bacchetti, Lyann Comrack, Chris Dunford, Gil Ewing, David and Denise Hamilton, Steve Hampton, David Hartley, Cliff Hawley, Jim Holmes, Scott Hoppe, Joan Humphrey, Jeri Langham, Karen Keinitz, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Eric LoPresti, Tim Manolis, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Janet and Mark Scheel, Mary Schiedt, John Sterling, Craig Swolgaard, Dan Tankersley, John Trochet, Kent Van Vuren, Bruce Webb, Dan Williams, and Roger Willmarth. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.