After several months where shorebirds took top billing, this October produced some nice songbird records. Two of these occurred at the same location: Putah Creek near the end of Hopkins Rd. Both birds were found on 10/1 and continued on 10/2. ATennessee Warblerwas detected first and other observers, looking for it, found aClay-colored Sparrow. The latter was seen on both the Yolo and Solano sides of the creek. The songbird of the month was aBlack-throated Sparrow southwest of Esparto on 10/21. It was seen into November, associating withLark Sparrowsin a young orchard along Rd 22, a little north of Rd 23. Apparently this is only the second Yolo County record. FemaleRose-breasted Grosbeakswere reported on 10/6 on the Yolo side of Lake Solano and on10/7in west Davis.
The Black-throated Sparrow by Ray Rozema
There were two other excellent finds for the month. A first yearCommon Ternwas seen at Sherman Island on 10/14. Surprisingly, this is one of very few reports for Sacramento County. They are more regular at other sites in the Central Valley, but this may reflect a paucity of good roosting and foraging sites with birder access in the county. On 10/6, twoChimney Swiftswere found among several small flocks ofVaux’s Swiftsflying at near eye level in stormy weather. TheChimney Swiftswere noted as larger, longer-winged, and darker overall, with a more direct flight style consisting of fewer wing beats and more gliding than the “fluttery”Vaux’s Swifts.
Brown Pelican by Dave Johnson
TheBrown Pelicanfirst found at theBridgeway Island Pond in West Sacramento on 8/24 continued in the vicinity throughout the month. The dull brown neck and head, lack of much color on the bare parts (bill and skin on face), and the uniform pale edging to feathers on the upper surface of the wings indicate this is a first year bird, as are most Brown Pelicans that stray into the Central Valley.
On both 10/1 and 10/30, aBand-tailed Pigeonwas found in Davis. On 10/2 aBand-tailed Pigeonwas found at the SRCSD Bufferlands (a first for this location), and a maleYellow-shafted (Northern) Flickerwas found at Cosumnes River Preserve on 10/8. Also on 10/8, aTownsend's Solitairewas seen on the ridge above Cold Canyon Campground along Putah Creek; downstream of this site, an unusually large flock of 25-30Band-tailed Pigeons and callingChestnut-backed Chickadeeswere detected. A Vesper Sparrowon Sherman Island Levee Rd on 10/10 adds to the list of recent finds from Sherman Island.
Many of these reports first appeared on the Central Valley Bird Club Listserve. Visitcvbirds.organd click "Listserve" 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: Brent Campos, Todd Easterla, Andy Engilis,Kevin Guse, Steve Hampton, Alison Kent, Dan Kopp, John Luther, Michael Perrone, John Sterling, Michael Strom, John Trochet, Magill Weber, and Dan Williams. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.