This was another atypically dry month, but with some excellent waterfowl reports. A Tule (also known as Taiga) Greater White-fronted Goose was among a group of the expected Pacific Greater White-fronted Geese along Woodbridge Rd on 3/22. This distinctive sub-species is rarely seen away from the Sacramento NWR complex. An interesting pictorial on Tule Geese may be found here (http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/waterfowl/docs/TuleGooseStatusforDFG.pdf). The maleEurasian Green-winged Teal reported at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) on 2/27 continued through at least 3/4 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S13298079). More than 350 Greater Scaup on the San Joaquin River near Sherman Island on 3/10 exceeds last month’s impressive totals. One male and two female Surf Scoters were found on the Sacramento River upstream of Sherman Island on 3/9; seven males were on the San Joaquin River from Sherman Island Levee Rd on 3/10, with four continuing on 3/12.
An adult Northern Goshawk flying low and calling over Davis near Covell and F St on 3/24 was an exceptional observation on the flats of the Valley. The good season forRough-legged Hawks continued with one at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 3/27 and with 3/30 producing one on Latrobe Rd and two or three on Meiss Rd.
The most notable shorebird report of the month was a Snowy Plover found at the Woodland WTP on 3/14. An early Whimbrel was at the Sacramento Reg. WTP on 3/7 and continued for several days among Long-billed Curlews. An impressive 72Mew Gulls were found at Sherman Island on 3/10. An adult Western Gull was near the Gristmill access to the American River Parkway (ARP) on 3/17. This species is regular at Sherman Island, but six there on 3/10 was an unexpectedly high total. Two adult Glaucous Gulls were at YBWA on 3/2, with a single adult on 3/4.
Two Common Poorwills calling at the lower end of Latrobe Rd in Sacramento County near Stone House Rd were detected on the early date of 3/30. The Red-naped Sapsucker found along Hwy 128 from 2/13-20, just east of the Hwy 128 bridge below Monticello Dam, was seen again on 3/11. A Townsend’s Solitaire in a backyard across the American River from Gristmill on 3/24 might be the same bird that was detected at Gristmill from 2/2-13. A Chestnut-collared Longspur at CRP on 3/23 accounted for the only longspur report in the area. The continuing Harris’s Sparrowin N Davis was seen on 3/10, though not again for the rest of the month, but it did turn up again in April. Four Red Crossbills at McKinley Park on 3/7 continued this excellent season for the species around Sacramento. On 3/11, four Evening Grosbeaks were found in Orangevale, with two continuing on 3/19.
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 eBird. It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Ben Abramovitz, Kari Bauer, Dan Brown, Chris Dunford, Gil Ewing, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Cliff Hawley, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Frances Oliver, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Steve Scott, Craig Swolgaard, John Trochet, and David Yee. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.