In terms of rare and uncommon birds, this month was one of the most dynamic on record. Several county firsts led the way, while other notable reports included acorn eating birds outside their normal range. Many observers reported numbers of Acorn Woodpeckers where they are rarely found, but more impressive were up to twenty Lewis’s Woodpeckers in oak woodlands on the Valley floor in places that they almost never occur. Three reports of Band-tailed Pigeons on 9/28 (American River Parkway (ARP), Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP), and William Land Park) hinted at more to come in October.
A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper was an excellent report for Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area on 9/22, along with six Pectoral Sandpipers; the latter species was also found at Lodi WTP on 9/11 and the Winters WTP from 9/21-23. A jaeger not identified to species was first seen at Folsom Lake on 9/16. Presumably the same bird was identified as a Parasitic Jaeger and seen by many from Folsom Point and Beals Point from 9/19-28. This is apparently the first jaeger found at Folsom Lake and a first for Sacramento County, though not for El Dorado and Placer Counties, where this typically pelagic species is sometimes found in Sierran lakes. Observers seeking this bird found up to four Sabine’s Gulls (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19915653) from 9/19-28 and up to four Common Terns from 9/21-28 (apparently the second Sabine’s Gull record for Sacramento County and the first documented Common Tern for the county). Four Common Terns were also found at Camanche Reservoir on 9/21.
A Chimney Swift (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19775282) with sixVaux’s Swifts was heard calling and was photographed along ARP west of Capital City Freeway on 9/8. The male Costa’s Hummingbird continued at a south Sacramento yard from 5/31 to near the end of the month, and the Costa’s banded a year ago along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters continued from August.
For the Sacramento Area, the list of rare warblers and other songbirds was outstanding. A Yellow-throated Vireo found at CRP’s Tall Forest on 9/20-21 was a first for the county and a Philadelphia Vireo was reported at Lodi Lake Nature Area on 9/19-20. A flurry of excellent warbler finds began on 9/1, with a Northern Waterthrush (https://www.flickr.com/photos/conardc/15044766169/) along Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd (9/1-8) and a Black-and-white Warbler (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19737914) at Ancil Hoffman Park in the ARP from (9/1-6). Birders following up on these finds produced most of the additional rare warblers. Another Black-and-white Warbler was found in CRP’s Tall Forest on 9/26. Tennesse Warblers were found at a backyard water feature in Rosemont on (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19657359) 9/3, Ancil Hoffman Park on 9/11, and Putah Creek near Pedrick Rd from 9/16-22. A Blackpoll Warbler was along the same stretch of Putah Creek from 9/7-9, while another was in the same Rosemont water feature on 9/9 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19783215). One of the most exciting finds for many was a Canada Warbler (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19811006) at Ancil Hoffman Park that continued from 9/11-26. Female/immature American Redstarts were found at Putah Creek and at CRP’s Tall Forest in the same date range of 9/21-26, and aChestnut-sided Warbler was found in the Arden Park neighborhood of Sacramento from 9/22-26.
There was a small influx of Chestnut-backed Chickadees around Davis and earlyPacific Wrens were found at the UC Davis Arboretum on 9/21 and at CRP on 9/26. ASage Thrasher was found along Latrobe Rd about one mile west of Michigan Bar Rd on 9/22 (http://ebird.org/ebird/ca/view/checklist?subID=S19910950), and Vesper Sparrow reports include two along South Shingle Rd in El Dorado County (beyond the junction of Michigan Bar and Latrobe Rd) on 9/17, one at Folsom Point on 9/23, and one along Payen Rd on 9/29 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S19981503).
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: Dan Airola, Dan Brown, Lyann Comrack, Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Bob Ellis, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Maureen Geiger, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Cliff Hawley, Scott Hoppe, Dan Kopp, Manfred Kusch, Eric LoPresti, Mark Martucci, Sarah Mayhew, Roger Muscat, David Nelson, Michael Park, Michael Perrone, Linda Pittman, Ron Pozzi, Mark Sawyer, John Sterling, Michael Strom, Craig Swolgaard, Jim Thomas, Kevin Thomas, John Trochet, C.V. Vick, Bruce Webb, Deb Weston, Nick Whelan, Dan Williams, Sharon Wisecarver, and David Yee. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.