The most intriguing report of the month was of an immature Wood Stock on 11/1 flying over the Sutter National Wildlife Refuge.It was not refound.On the same day at Lake Natoma, a Common Loon and four Horned Grebes were seen. At this site and nearby Folsom Lake, both species are regularly found in winter, but extremely difficult to find elsewhere in Sacramento County.Always a nice find, but especially so in the low foothills of Amador County, a Eurasian Wigeon was seen on 11/28 at Goffinet Reservoir east of Ione.A Redhead was at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 11/20 during the Central Valley Birding Symposium, and up to three were present at the Sacramento County Bufferlands during the first half of the month among about 2,000 Canvasbacks.
A Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk was reported regularly from the Symposium onward north of Lodi along Thornton Rd, just north of Peltier Rd, to the east of I-5.Another was reported in Yolo County along Rd 31 to the west of Davis.One to two Merlins took up residence along the American River Parkway between the Gristmill and Watt accesses.
There were a number of notable finds at CRP this month.A well-described Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker on 11/3 is near the top of the list.We expect lingering Black-throated Gray Warblers and Townsend’s Warblers, often through the CBCs, but a Hermit Warbler that persisted at Cosumnes River Preserve through 11/11 was more of a surprise.There was also a very late Wilson’s Warbler on 11/1.A Dusky Flycatcher was a very nice find, continuing from 11/7-11.There were single Swamp Sparrow reports from CRP on 11/11 and 11/13.At both CRP and the Sacramento County Bufferlands, there were at least four separate White-throated Sparrows at each location.A White-throated Sparrow was also found at the chronically underbirded Bobelaine Sanctuary on 11/4-7.Eleven Purple Finches at CRP on 11/13 was a very nice total for the Valley floor.
Click photo to enlarge.
An American Dipper at a traditional winter location along Putah Creek at the Hwy 128 bridge to the west of Winters. Photo by Chris Conard on 28 Nov 2009. This species also showed up on the Mokelumne River this year below the Camanche Dam, where it is less regular. Dippers occasionally show up in winter elsewhere in the Valley and low foothills, with a handful of reports from the Lower American River, the Cosumnes River at Michigan Bar, Sweetwater Creek near Folsom Lake, and even artificial waterfalls in El Dorado Hills.
An American Dipper returned to its traditional spot along Putah Creek at the Hwy 128 bridge to the west of Winters.More unusual were regular reports of one to two dippers on the Mokelumne River below the Camanche Dam beginning on 10/24 and continuing through November.A Townsend’s Solitaire was at the same site on 11/12.Other interesting reports include a second-year Western Gull at the Davis Wetlands on 11/20 and an early adult Glaucous Gull at the Yolo County Landfill beginning on 11/1.A late Hammond’s Flycatcher was found at White’s Slough on 11/27, a Sage Thrasher was seen at the nearby Lodi Sewage Ponds on 11/6, and a Grasshopper Sparrow was found along Woodbridge Rd on 11/21--always a good find in winter and anywhere away from the known isolated breeding areas.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserv. Visit www.cvbirds.org and click "Listserv" for details. With nearly 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: Dan Brown, Matthew Dodder, Steve Hampton, Lauren Harter, Dan Kopp, Sami LaRocca, Don Marsh, Jeff McCreary, Frances Oliver, Ed Pandolfino, Diane Rose, Steve Rose, Jennifer Rycenga, Zach Smith, John Sterling, Craig Swolgaard, John Trochet, David Vander Pluym, Liz West, and Dan Williams. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.