Almost everyone looks forward to September with the promise of cooler temperatures, an increased chance of rare migrant songbirds, and Sandhill Cranes by mid-month. Waterfowl numbers began to build, and the most notable duck this month was a single Greater Scaup at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) on 9/30. Limited shorebird highlights included a Baird's Sandpiper on 9/26 at the Davis WTP, one to two Pectoral Sandpipers (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39368480) at the Sacramento Regional WTP (SRWTP) from 9/12-16, and up to three Pectoral Sandpipers at YBWA from 9/13-18. A juvenile Sabine Gull was a nice surprise for the second year in a row at the SRWTP from 9/26-29 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39408311).
A Common Poorwill at Babel Slough on 9/28 was a nice find for the Valley floor, as was a Costa's Hummingbird at Sailor Bar, along the American River Parkway (ARP), on 9/25. Lewis's Woodpeckers were seen on several occasions moving through the flats of the Valley, but hadn't established themselves in their typical wintering grounds in the oak woodlands ringing the Valley. A Townsend's Solitaire at Babel Slough on 9/14 was another good find (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39183290).
There was a nice assortment of rare warblers in the region, including a Tennessee Warbler found along Cache Creek at Wild Wings Park west of Woodland on 9/6, and another along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 9/16. Also near Pedrick Rd on 9/16 was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. Another Chestnut-sided Warbler was found on 9/26 at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) near the Tall Forest among large numbers of migrants, which included 40 Black-throated Gray Warblers. A Blackpoll Warbler was found along the east side of the Freemont Weir off of Rd 16 on 9/14, and another was found at Ancil Hoffman Park along the ARP on 9/27. An American Redstart was a nice find on private property near Winters on 9/28, as was a Northern Waterthrush along Putah Creek downstream of Winters on 9/25. The female Hooded Warbler in north Davis first reported on 8/16 continued into October.
Two Green-tailed Towhees were found along Babel Slough Rd near S River Rd from 9/1-15, with another along the ARP near Larchmont on 9/2, and yet another at YBWA from 9/16-17. Clay-colored Sparrow records are very rare in the Valley, so two reports were notable, with one at the YBWA on 9/9 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39102648) and another along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 9/24. Brewer's Sparrow records included one in a Davis backyard on 9/1, one at SRWTP on 9/13, another at the Davis Wetlands on 9/25, and yet another on 9/16 at Babel Slough along with an impressive 15 Chipping Sparrows. A Black-throated Sparrow at Michigan Bar from 9/24-26 was an excellent find, as was a Lark Bunting at Freemont Weir Wildlife Area from 9/12-13 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39168856). A molting male Indigo Bunting was reported from Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 9/16 as were two Evening Grosbeaks in east Davis on 9/23. Finally, the report of a family group of six Blue-gray Gnatcatchers from 6/26-28 at the River Bend access to the ARP was accidentally omitted from a previous column; this is an exceedingly rare nesting record from the Valley floor.
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: Keith Bailey, Brent Campos, Hugh Dingle, Chris Dunford, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Stephen Fettig, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Cliff Hawley, Scott Hoppe, Dan Kopp, Jesse Kramer, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Michael Perrone, Jason Riggio, Steve Scott, Kirk Swenson, Kevin Thomas, John Trochet, Amy and Daniel Welsh, and Ed Whisler. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.