As fall turned toward winter, most of the regular winter birds were established in their usual haunts. Each minor storm was watched with anticipation to see if it might help end the drought, but at the time of this writing, rainfall has been occasional and too modest to make much of a dent in the deficit of recent years. A gynandromorph Gadwall, left side male and right side female, was an intriguing find at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 11/1 at the Lost Slough Wetlands. A Greater Scaup, rare regionally away from the Delta, was found with a Lesser Scaup (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26078059) along the American River Parkway near Sailor Bar on 11/30. On 11/3, seven female Red-breasted Mergansers were spotted on Folsom Lake near Mormon Island, and another female was at the Lodi Sewage Ponds on 11/21.
The few Rough-legged Hawk reports included singles at the Conaway Ranch on 11/2, the Davis WTP on 11/9, Sacramento International Airport on 11/11, and one obviously in transit over upper Lake Natoma on 11/14. Ferruginous Hawk reports were widespread, but four, including a dark morph, along with 22 Red-tailed Hawks near Rds 97 and 25A in Yolo County on 11/18 were notable. A Pacific Golden-Plover at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) was reported on 11/5, with one to two continuing throughout the month (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S26019609). Another Pacific Golden-Plover was found on 11/16 along Abel Road on the south side of Colusa NWR. A Marbled Godwit was found along the entrance road to YBWA on 11/18, but more surprising were 11 reported along Cherokee Ln near Galt on 11/30. A Western Sandpiper was a nice find for the season among a large flock of Dunlin and Least Sandpipers in flooded rice fields near the intersection of Kempton Rd and Brewer Rd in eastern Sutter County. A Red-necked Phalarope was a surprising find in a large puddle near Mormon Island at Folsom Lake on 11/3, while the latest report for the season was one continuing at the Woodland WTP on 11/4. An adult Western Gull was found at Touchstone Lake in West Sacramento on 11/25.
Band-tailed Pigeon reports included two at Upper Sunrise along the ARP on 11/6, seven at Sailor Bar on 11/7, one at Garcia Bend Park in the Pocket Area of Sacramento on 11/26, one at the SRWTP Bufferlands on 11/22 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25956454), and 27 at Michigan Bar on 11/28. A Common Poorwill on Michigan Bar Rd, north of the Cosumnes River on 11/14, was quite late in the season (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25833502). A Long-eared Owl was a nice find at a closed portion of CRP on 11/29; one or two have been recorded from this portion of CRP in most recent fall/winter seasons. Two Steller’s Jays were reported north of the Michigan Bar Bridge on 11/26-30, and two Mountain Bluebirds were found on 11/14 near the Manzanita Cemetery north of Lincoln. A MacGillivray’s Warbler found on 11/29 at CRP was an excellent report this late in the season. Late Wilson’s Warblers were found at CRP on 11/8 and at Delta Meadow’s State Park near Walnut Grove on a 11/20 Central Valley Birding Symposium trip. A Red Crossbill invasion continued to build with reports along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd on 11/1, three in Natomas on 11/17 near West El Camino Ave and Capitol Oaks Dr, and 10 in downtown Winters on 11/21--check back in December. And lastly, four Evening Grosbeaks were reported flying over Slide Hill Park in east Davis on 11/12.
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: Roger Adamson, Keith Bailey, Terry Colborn, Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Michael Gertz, Ted Gilliland, Ben Graber, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Scott Hoppe, Afton Kern, Dan Kopp, Mark Martucci, Gary Mele, Michael Perrone, Jim Rowoth, Mark Sawyer, Susan Steele, John Sterling, Michele Swarthout, Craig Swolgaard, Kevin Thomas, Daniel Thomson, John Trochet, Bruce Webb, and Rick Williams. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.