This March will surely be remembered for decades as the month of the Garganey (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S53261737). A male of this small, Eurasian-breeding duck (a California Bird Records Committee review species) was seen and photographed by hundreds in West Sacramento from 3/1-20. It was initially found at Bridgeway Island Pond, where it often continued, but was also seen fairly regularly at a nearby wetland near the intersection of Southport Parkway and Jefferson Blvd. Bridgeway Island Pond has been locally famous for its inexplicably high numbers of Blue-winged Teal (at times over 200), but this find put it on the national map. One to two Surf Scoters continued off of Sherman Island E Levee Rd from early January through at least 3/3, while the cooperative male White-winged Scoter first found on 12/13 near the Nimbus Hatchery continued through 3/31 (it was apparently not seen in April). Male Costa's Hummingbirds were reported from Rancho Cordova on 3/24 and Citrus Heights on 3/25.
An immature Glaucous Gull has been reported sporadically this season in Yolo County, including on 3/8 at the Woodland WTP. The Red-throated Loon found along the Deep Water Channel between Bridgeway Island Pond and the turning basin on 2/27 was reported into the first week of March, while the Pacific Loon found last December on Folsom Lake between the dam and Folsom Point was last reported on 3/10. A Long-eared Owl roost in a private orchard along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters continued with at least five birds present in March. A pair of Hairy Woodpeckers was seen off of Young Wo Circle along Lake Natoma through the end of the month. This is the only site in Sacramento County where this is species is somewhat expected, and only there since 2013.
Another major regional highlight was an immature female Vermilion Flycatcher found along Bruceville Rd, between Twin Cities and Desmond Rds, from 3/9-15 (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S53839441). It was seen by many, moving between private land and the Cosumnes River Preserve, and often perched cooperatively along the roadside fences. This is only the third Sacramento County record (the others coming from 1983 and 2004). A somewhat early Cassin's Vireo was at Slide Hill Park in Davis on 3/24, while another was found at Marriott Park in the Pocket area of Sacramento on 3/30, along with a well-photographed Plumbeous Vireo (https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S54392859). The bright male Tennessee Warbler photographed in a north Davis yard on 1/25 continued through at least 3/11 along the greenbelt in the vicinity of Elk Place and Falcon Ave. A drab Blackburnian Warbler was reported in north Davis 3/1, but was not refound despite considerable effort. The same goes for a Black-and-white Warbler reported at Granite Regional Park on 3/29. The Palm Warbler first reported on 2/12 near Covell Blvd and Pole Line Rd in Davis continued through at least 3/15.
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: Dan Airola, Max Brodie, Leo Edson, Gil Ewing, Stephen Fettig, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Ed Harper, Terry Hodapp, James Holmes, Afton Kern, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Jean Leonatti, Mark Martucci, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Chris Ronshausen, Mark Sawyer, Steve Scott, John Sterling, Michelle Swarthout, Craig Swolgaard, and John Trochet. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.