This year has seen by far the most Long-eared Owl reports of any in the 2000s and this month added its share of records. Three to four were found on a roost in the Tall Forest of Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 11/22 and one was calling near CRP’s Orr Forest on 11/25. Another was found during the Central Valley Birding Symposium at the Stockton Rural Cemetery on 11/17. A Northern Saw-whet Owl was at the same location on 11/12. Both species are very hard to find in winter, and many more certainly escape detection.
On 11/6, a “Brewer’s Duck”(Gadwall X Mallard) was found at the Woodland WTP (WWTP) along with the Surf Scoter continuing from 10/30. A female White-winged Scoter was at Beals Point, Folsom Lake, on 11/13; the Red-throated Loon continued nearby in Sacramento County waters on 11/14. A hatch-year Brown Pelican was seen and photographed at Riverlake in the Pocket Area of South Sacramento on 11/22. Two Semipalmated Plovers were found mid-month at the Farmers Central Pond in Woodland, a Marbled Godwit, perhaps continuing from last month, was found at Yolo Wildlife Area on 11/18-25, and a very late Baird’s Sandpiper was at the WWTP on 11/1. A Franklin’s Gull was at WWTP on 11/15 and an adult Glaucous Gull was at the Yolo County Landfill on 11/25.
A Greater Roadrunner was on the Valley floor, seen in both Yolo and Colusa Counties as it crossed County Line Rd near John’s School Rd, on 11/10. Songbird highlights included juvenile Northern Shrikes on private property along Nicolas Rd near Lincoln on 11/2 and at the Fremont Weir on 11/3. A Cassin’s Vireo at CRP along the River Walk on 11/10 was a nice find for late in the season as was a Nashville Warbler at the Orr Forest on 11/25; a Green-tailed Towhee was found north of the Tall Forest on 11/3. An (eastern) Winter Wren was found, photographed, and recorded on the Yolo County side of Lake Solano near Positas Rd from 11/20-27. Vesper Sparrows continue along Hwy 128 west of Winters, with two at “Vesper Sparrow Corner” on 11/22. The Harris’s Sparrow returning from last winter to North Davis continued through the month. Excellent diversity and numbers of finches were reported, with a male Cassin’s Finch at the UCD Arboretum on 11/7 along with four Red Crossbills in the same area, widespread Pine Siskin reports, including an impressive 200+ at the Old Sacramento City Cemetery on 11/24, and continuing Evening Grosbeak reports from Davis on 11/18 and 11/27, Granite Bay on 11/22, and Sacramento on 11/22-23.
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 eBird. It is impossible to list everyone, but I want to thank the following for their reports: Brent Campos, Daryl Coldren, Farley Cross, Scott Dietrich, Chris Dunford, Jon Dunn, Andy Engilis, Jr., Rob Fowler, Claire Gallagher, Cory Gregory, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Dan Kopp, Gordon Lane, Jeri Langham, Eric LoPresti , Joseph Morlan, Michael Perrone, Jim Rowoth, John Sterling, Dan Tankersley, John Trochet, and Bruce Webb. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible. Chris Conard