This male Summer Tanager was found by Karl Oettle on 1/29/09 in Orangevale. This species has been found wintering in the Sacramento area on a few other occasions. In March of 2008, a male Summer Tanager was found in El Dorado Hills, having also been found there the previous two winters. Photo by Karlin Oettle, 2/9/09.
Sightings for January 2009
This month was fairly dry with long stretches of inviting spring like weather. It also wrapped up the Christmas Count season, with the Rio Cosumnes CBC on 1/3 and the Folsom CBC on 1/4. The bird of the month was a gorgeous male Summer Tanager visiting a private yard in Orangevale. It was found on 1/29 and continued through at least 2/12.
Scouting for Rio Cosumnes produced a Long-eared Owl at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 1/1. That bird was not refound on 1/3, but other CRP highlights included a Eurasian Green-winged Teal, a Least Bittern, a Cassin's Vireo, and two Chestnut-collared Longspurs. A rare blue morph Ross's Goose was reported within the count circle on Merritt Island, Yolo County. Folsom CBC highlights included two Steller's Jays (one near Lake Natoma, the other at the Peninsula portion of Folsom Lake), a flock of Red Crossbills in Folsom, and five Lawrence's Goldfinches near Sweetwater Creek.
The Folsom CBC also produced an adult Western Gull and a first-winter Glaucous Gull at Folsom Lake. The latter was found again on 1/14. The Davis Landfill and Wastewater Treatment Plant hosted thousands of gulls, which feed at the landfill and roost on the treatment pond levees. The highlights were at least three different Glaucous Gulls, including an adult, at least three Western Gulls, and a very impressive 350 Thayer's Gulls.
A Yellow-shafted [Northern] Flicker was reported in North Davis on 1/22, with another at the Nimbus Hatchery on 1/23. Caution is always advised to rule out intergrades with Red-shafted Flickers. These are far more common than "pure" birds (note especially the face pattern, crown and cheek color). An adult Northern Shrike was at CRP's Valensin unit on 1/14, and another adult was reported near Catlett and Brewer Rds on 1/26. Two Greater Scaup were found at the Yolo Wildlife Area on 1/17, and there were several reports of a Eurasian Wigeon from that location, along with scattered reports throughout the Sacramento area. Highlights from a 1/10 visit to CRP included a "Western" Flycatcher (Pacific-slope/Cordilleran), and four to five Western Tanagers (owing to an excellent wild grape crop this fall). Other interesting finds include a Swainson's Hawk over Davis on 1/30, a Selasphorus Hummingbird (Rufous/Allen's) at UC Davis on 1/25, and two Chipping Sparrows at the Masonic Lawn Cemetery in Sacramento near Broadway and Riverside on 1/18.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserv. Visit www.cvbirds.org and click "Listserv" for details. With nearly 100 reports, it is impossible to list everyone; however, I want to thank the following for reports on the above species and for providing additional information: Roger Adamson, George Chaniot, Todd Easterla, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Scott Hoppe, Jeri Langham, Don Lotter, Karl and Karlin Oettle, Ed Pandolfino, Mary Schiedt, Zach Smith, John Sterling, Craig Swolgaard, John Trochet, Bruce Webb, and Dan Williams. Thanks to everyone for their reportsówithout them, this column would not be possible.