Interesting songbird reports were widespread, with some excellent highlights, especially along Putah Creek near UC Davis between Hopkins and Pedrick Rds, and Babel Slough south of West Sacramento. Red Crossbills made an appearance in the Davis area, with a high of 20 along Putah Creek on 9/2; an invasion of montane birds may be coming, with widespread reports and high numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches and an influx of Pine Siskins.
Typically eastern songbirds are much-sough prizes and this September proved richer than most. Least Flycatcher reports came from Yolo Grasslands Park on 9/2-3 and Babel Slough on 9/8. A Great Crested Flycatcher (a state review species) was reported from Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 9/14. A wren was photographed at Babel Slough on 9/23 showing characteristics of an (eastern) Winter Wren (a state review species; since the 2010 split, the western birds have been called Pacific Wrens). Excellent warbler reports included Tennessee Warblers reported from a private yard in Carmichael on 9/9, Putah Creek from 9/16-18, and Babel Slough on 9/23 and 9/26; a Northern Parula near Freeport on 9/3; and, most notable, Yolo’s first Bay-breasted Warbler at Babel Slough on 9/19. An impressive five Blackpoll Warblers were found in the area, including Putah Creek between Davis and Winters on 9/11, Babel Slough and Lagoon Valley on 9/14, Lake Solano on 9/16, and the Sacramento City Cemetery on 9/25.
Blackpoll Warbler, Photos by Manfred Kusch, 11 Sept 2012
Putah Creek between Davis and Winters.
A Yellow-breasted Chat was found at Bobelaine on 9/8 and another was regularly detected along Putah Creek for the first week of September. A hatch-year Orchard Oriole was another Yolo County first, found along Putah Creek near UCD, often in the vicinity of Hooded Orioles, from 9/11-18.
Other interesting reports included a Brown Pelican at the Yolo Wildlife Area (YWA) on 9/7; a continuing Least Bittern at Mather Lake on 9/1; an apparent American Avocet X Black-necked Stilt hybrid at the Davis Wetlands early in the month; a Solitary Sandpiper at YWA on 9/17; a juvenile Sanderling at the Granite Bay launch at Folsom Lake on 9/11; a Yellow-billed Cuckoo heard along Putah Creek on 9/1; four Greater Roadrunners along Sand Creek Rd west of Arbuckle on 9/1; a hatch-year Allen’s Hummingbird banded along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters on 9/20 and a hatch-year Calliope Hummingbird in north Davis on 9/5; Lewis’s Woodpecker reports on the Valley floor, with up to four from Putah Creek near UCD on 9/14-16 and a juvenile at the Sacramento County Bufferlands on 9/27 (a first of the site); a male Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker at Reichmuth Park on 9/25; a Green-tailed Towhee in north Davis on 9/22; a Brewer’s Sparrow at the YWA on 9/23; and a Large-billed (montane) Fox Sparrow at CRP on 9/14.
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: Murray Berner, Terry Colborn, Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Gil Ewing, Steve Hampton, Cliff Hawley, Pat Hildreth, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Phil Lutz, Michael Park, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Ron Pozzi, John Sterling, Michael Strom, John Trochet, Amy Welsh and Daniel Welsh. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible. Chris Conard