June through July is an important period for breeding birds, but, aside from shorebirds, it can be pretty slow for birders, with overall diversity quite low. This year was an exception with many interesting finds. Among the most enjoyable was a Little Blue Heron seen by many in Natomas at a large rookery at an apartment complex near San Juan Rd and Azevedo Dr (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18880062). The bird was discovered on 6/22, where it was arranging sticks in a nest and displaying among Snowy Egrets and Cattle Egrets; it continued through at least 7/7. Perhaps this was the same bird seen at the Conaway Ranch in Yolo County on 5/30. Breeding evidence of Hooded Mergansers continues to accumulate, with two young birds at the Lost Slough portion of CRP on 7/13. A Least Bittern was seen by several observers throughout the period at Mather Lake, and a Glossy Ibiswas found at the Davis Wetlands on 6/27 among the White-faced Ibises.
There was an excellent assortment of shorebirds found in the region this summer, including an adult American Golden-Plover reported at Woodland WTP on 6/27 and an Golden-Plover unidentified to species at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 7/20. A Pacific Golden-Plover mostly in breeding plumage was reported along Desmond Rd at CRP on 7/21 and 7/27. A Snowy Plover was found at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) on 7/20 and continued through the end of the month, and a Snowy Ploverwas also at CRP on 7/20. A Willet was found at the Woodland WTP on 6/23, while two were at CRP along Desmond Rd (https://www.flickr.com/photos/95013000@N03/14728063076/) on 7/26, with at least one continuing through the end of month. Up to ten Marbled Godwits were reported on several occasions in Yolo County, while six were found at CRP along Desmond Rd on 7/23. A Ruddy Turnstone was an excellent report along with a couple of very earlyDunlins at YBWA on 7/28. A Stilt Sandpiper (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19202631) was found at YBWA on 7/23 and perhaps the same bird was reported on 7/30. A Semipalmated Sandpiper was a nice find at YBWA on 7/20 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19165573) and a Wilson’s Phalaropechick at YBWA on 7/19 was a nice breeding record.
A Greater Roadrunner was reported calling from the Solano County side of Putah Creek west of Winters near Fishing Access 4 off Hwy 128 on 6/19. The male Costa’s Hummingbird continued at a south Sacramento yard from 5/31 into August. A female or immature Calliope Hummingbird was reported from a private residence near North Highlands on 7/20. Among the good songbird reports was a Red-eyed Vireo reported singing in east Davis on 7/4, an American Redstart at the Regional San Bufferlands on 6/4, and an Ovenbird (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S18719741) enjoyed by several observers on the boarder of the Sacramento Zoo on 6/7. A juvenileChipping Sparrow was found at CRP on 7/12. Another highlight of the season was two Summer Tanagers (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19072213) countersinging on 6/21 near the Tall Forest. One of the birds continued into August and was seen by several observers. A male Rose-breasted Grosbeak(http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19239315) was found on 7/26 and continued through at least 8/1, and an immature or early molting male Indigo Buntingwas at the Bufferlands on 7/23.
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. It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Dan Airola, Ashley Casey, Terry Colborn, Lyann Comrack, Bob Ellis, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Eli Gross, Steve Hampton, Joan Humphrey, Jenner Junghans, Afton Kern, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Susie Nishio, Charles Smith, John Sterling, Fritz Steurer, Michael Strom, John Trochet, Dan Williams, and Sharon Wisecarver. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.