With abundant late rain this spring it is not too surprising that migrant songbirds were somewhat delayed, with fair numbers coming through well into June.A sample day on 6/5 at Slide Hill Park in Davis included a Hammond's Flycatcher, a Dusky Flycatcher, a "Western” Flycatcher, an Olive-sided Flycatcher, a Swainson's Thrush, a Wilson's Warbler and a Townsend's Warbler.Also surprising for this summer season were a few unusual and/or unprecedented breeding records.Hooded Mergansers were confirmed nesting for the first time in Sacramento County at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) near the Valensin Forest, and Yellow Warblers were found to have nested successfully for the first time at CRP, with an adult feeding two recently fledged young.The first solid nesting record of Yellow-breasted Chat at CRP was less heartening:a chat was seen feeding a young Brown-headed Cowbird.A pair of Least Terns nested for the fourth year in a row at the Sacramento Reg. WTP (SRWTP), fledging three chicks.At least two Bell’s Vireos were found singing at the Yolo Wildlife Area for the second year in a row, but no solid evidence of nesting was discovered, and the last detection was on 7/10.
The unchallenged highlights for the period were a couple of rare shorebirds, both first records for the Central Valley.An Upland Sandpiper was found along Waverly Rd to the east of Stockton, just south of the area typically covered by this column, on 6/25.It was seen by many, with some seeing and hearing its wonderful flight display.At other times during its stay through 6/28 it remained out of sight, disappointing many others. Linda Pittman's photos, including flight shots, may be found here. On 7/15-17, an adult Little Stint was found and seen by many at the Davis Wetlands and photographed by Roger Adamson. Additional photos at http://radamson.smugmug.com/
Upland Sandpiper by Linda Pittman
Little Stint by Roger Adamson
On 6/1 a juvenile Brown Pelican was found in West Sacramento.The following day it was on the front lawn of the Post Office on Industrial Blvd.It was picked up by a wildlife rehabber that afternoon since it was walking into traffic.Another Brown Pelican found on 6/3 at the Folsom Dam did not survive.A juvenile Brown Pelican found at the Lodi WTP on 7/20 continued into August.This species is quite rare in the Valley, but it has become more regular over the past two decades.On 6/3 an adult Western Gull was among over 300 California Gulls at the Davis WTP.The California Gulls nested for the second year in a row, but none of the chicks survived to fledging, likely because of the sustained efforts by aerial and ground predators.
A male Allen’s Hummingbird was observed performing a display flight at CRP on 6/19 and Allen’s Hummingbirds were captured and measured (the only safe way to separate this species from Rufous Hummingbirds aside from the display flight) along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters.Other highlights included an adult Snowy Plover at the Lincoln WTP on 6/15-16, 21 Willets at SRWTP on 7/22, a Semipalmated Sandpiper at the Davis Wetlands on 7/15-17, three Common Nighthawks along Meiss Rd in eastern Sacramento County on 6/11, an unprecedented June record (6/12) of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in full song on Yolo County Rd 98, north of the town of Yolo, and an immature male Summer Tanager on Todhunter Ave near Riverbank Road in West Sacramento on 7/20. The Steller’s Jay that wintered in Curtis Park continued through at least 6/18.Adult Purple Martins and their recently fledged young were noted in impressive numbers at Paradise Beach along the American River Parkway, with 65 on 7/26, a high of 92 on 7/27, and 40 or more continuing into mid-August.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserve.Visit cvbirds.org and click "Listserve" for details.With more than 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, Dan Airola, Mel Bolinder, Dawn DeBerry, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Nancy Gronert, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Pablo Herrera, Dan Kopp,Manfred Kusch, Frances Oliver, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Ron Pozzi, Jennifer Rycenga, John Sterling, John Trochet, and Ed Whisler.Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.