As expected, shorebird reports dominated the period, with Arctic migrants showing up in our area by the last week of June. Much more surprising was a report and distant photographs of a possible Neotropic Cormorant on 7/8-9 at the Stockton Sewage Ponds. This species has been expanding its range north, so we should keep an eye out for them in the future. Least Bitterns were found at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) from 6/14-7/16, with a high of two, at Bridgeway Island Pond in West Sacramento from 7/18-27, and at Mather Lake from 7/9-21 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38062072). A very vocal Black Rail was a nice surprise at Bridgeway Island Pond from 7/18 through at least 7/27.
A Snowy Plover on 7/9 at the YBWA was a nice find, although this species usually turns up a few times in the summer. Solitary Sandpipers were well represented, with one at the Anatolia Vernal Pool Reserve off of Sunrise Blvd on 7/23, one at the Woodland WTP on 7/28, and a high of four at the Sacramento Reg. WTP (SRWTP) Bufferlands from 7/25-8/3 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38377644). There were good numbers of Marbled Godwits at YBWA in July, with a high of over 50. A Willet was at the Anatolia Vernal Pool Reserve on 7/21, and one was at SRWTP from 7/6-10. A Red Knot was a really nice find at the Davis WTP from 6/28-30, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper found on a tour of the SRWTP Bufferlands on 7/29. A Least Tern pair nested again at SRWTP (as they have in all but two years since 2008), but the three chicks that hatched by 6/11 disappeared in their first week, surely by way of an unknown predator. A Black Skimmer found at YBWA on 7/4 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37974172) was a first for Yolo County and a really nice surprise. It was likely the same bird that was reported the previous day from Sacramento NWR, to the north of our area, but it was not found again after 7/4.
A Say's Phoebe in juvenile plumage was a surprise at the North Mather Drive Wetlands on 7/29. This species is not known to nest in our immediate area. A late singing Swainson's Thrush was found in the Orr Forest of Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 6/24, but not on followup visits, and Yellow Warblers were singing and seemingly on territory there, and may have nested. The only real songbird vagrant of the period was a singing male Northern Parula at William B Pond along the American River Parkway on 6/4. Up to five Grasshopper Sparrows at CRP in the pasture off of Bruceville Rd were a nice find in mid-July. The singing male Summer Tanager at CRP's Orr Forest found on 5/27 continued through at least late July, but there was no indication that he found a mate despite singing incessantly throughout the day.
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, Paul Cordero, Hugh Dingle, Lily Douglas, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Stephan Fettig, Ted Gilliland, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, John Harris, Cliff Hawley, James Holmes, Stanton Hunter, Logan Kahle, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Michael Perrone, Jason Riggio, Jim Rowoth, Steve Scott, John Sterling, John Trochet, Adam Warner, Rick Williams, and David Yee. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.