While often considered the summer doldrums, June and July typically produce a few interesting records. Sometimes these are in the form of a late migrating vagrant songbird. A male Bobolink on 6/1 at the Granite Reg. Park in south Sacramento was just the type of record we look for in June. Harder to explain was a gorgeous Brown Thrasher at the Stone Lakes NWR that was mist-netted on 7/10 and heard singing on 7/11. Another big surprise was the first recorded Least Terns in Sacramento County. Two were found at the Sacramento Reg. Wastewater Treatment Plant (SRWTP) on 6/27. A nest was found on 7/1, though the eggs failed to hatch and the terns were last seen on 8/5.
Shorebirds are always a highlight for the period, with migrants starting to arrive in late June, and building in numbers through July and into August. The shorebird highlight of the period was of two Stilt Sandpipers, still partially in breeding plumage, with dowitchers at the Davis Wetlands from 7/31 to 8/2. Another nice surprise was a molting adult male Ruff (sporting a ruff) at the Yolo Wildlife Area (YWA) on 7/15. Other shorebird highlights included an adult Pacific Golden-Plover and two Marbled Godwits on Sherman Island near the Antioch Bridge on 7/28. Up to ten Marbled Godwits were reported from various Yolo County locations. The Woodland WTP hosted a Snowy Plover on 7/29, a Willet on 7/26, and a Semipalmated Sandpiper on 7/31. Single Willets were also found at SRWTP (7/25) and Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 7/30. A Solitary Sandpiper was found at CRP on 7/27.
Cassin's Kingbirds were reported from two different locations on Sherman Island on 6/26, with one carrying food, indicating a possible nesting attempt. Unfortunately, they were not refound on subsequent visits. A male Northern Parula was found at CRP on 7/26 and continued well into August. Additional reports included a Hammond's Flycatcher in north Davis on 6/6, an immature male Indigo Bunting at CRP on 6/22, a very late Lincoln's Sparrow from Granite Reg. Park on 6/3, and Red-breasted Nuthatches reported on 7/27 from both CRP and Davis. The only Bank Swallow report in Sacramento County was one from SRWTP on 7/9, but over 80 were found in July at YWA.
A Band-tailed Pigeon was an interesting find, especially for the summer, at River Bend Park (formerly Goethe Park) on 7/2. There has been continued expansion of White-faced Ibis breeding in the Sacramento area. A large rookery was visible from I-80 in the tules just south of the Yolo Causeway at YWA. A "ratty-looking" male Common Goldeneye was found along the American River near Gristmill on 7/27 and continued into August. At least one Common Nighthawk returned to Meiss Rd in eastern Sacramento County, as they have since 2005.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserv. Visit www.cvbirds.org and click "Listserv" for details. With 150 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, Dan Brown, Todd Easterla, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Scott Hoppe, David Johnson, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, John Luther, Ed Pandolfino, Ann Pellegrini, Andy Pfeffer, Deren Ross, Mary Schiedt, Stefan Schlick, John Sterling, John Trochet, Charley Walker, Dan Williams, and Stan Wright. Thanks to everyone for their reportsówithout them, this column would not be possible. Chris Conard