October 2013 was quite a contrast from the previous year. The influx of montane birds that characterized last fall and winter did not occur, and Red-breasted Nuthatches, which last year seemed to be everywhere, were absent. On the other hand, Lewis’s Woodpeckers, very hard to see last fall and winter, are back in their regular haunts on the Valley’s margins this fall; one was even found along the River Walk of the Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 10/12. They are quite rare on the Valley floor itself, away from blue oak woodlands in the low foothills.
Woodland Wastewater Treatment Plant held many of the most interesting reports. Greater Scaup are rare in the area away from the Delta, so one there on 10/21 and two on 10/23 were notable. Two American Golden-Plovers(http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15429501), less regular in the Valley than Pacific Golden-Plovers, were also found at Woodland WTP from 10/17-24, as was a Marbled Godwit on 10/1, one to two Pectoral Sandpipers from 10/16-18, and a Franklin’s Gull on 10/21 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S15459902). The latter was refound at the Yolo Central Landfill Pond from 10/22-24, and a juvenile Western Gull was there on 10/11.
Other interesting reports included a Common Poorwill on private property in SE Sacramento County on 10/23, a male Calliope Hummingbird in a Folsom backyard on 10/6, and single Hammond’s Flycatchers in N Davis on 10/12 and the Yolo Co. Grasslands Reg. Park on 10/14. A Warbling Vireo on 10/27 at the Orr Forest of CRP was later than expected, as was a Grasshopper Sparrow along Meiss Rd at a traditional breeding location on 10/14. The only Brown Creeper reported in Sacramento County was in Fair Oaks on 10/4. On 10/20, the Harris’s Sparrowreturned to the same N Davis neighborhood for the third consecutive fall/winter. The only other vagrant songbird of the month was a male Indigo Bunting that visited a Sacramento Backyard on the late date of 10/22.
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: Steve Abbott, Brent Campos, Chris Dunford, Leo Edson, Gil Ewing, Claire Gallagher, Steve Hampton, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Frances Oliver, Ed Pandolfino, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Don Schmoldt, John Sterling, John Trochet, and Sally Walters. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.