During the hot days of summer, many of us long for September. Not only does it promise cooler weather, but the arrival of the first Greater White-fronted Geese, Sandhill Cranes, and White-crowned Sparrows, to name a few. It also is one of the best times to turn up unexpected species.This month, a Glossy Ibis was photographed at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) on 9/18 (https://sterlingbirds.smugmug.com/Recent-Photos/i-pRhKHGj); another surprise was a clearly seen Black Rail along Babel Slough on 9/14.
There were excellent shorebird reports this month, including four Snowy Plovers at the Woodland WTP on 9/4. There were a handful of Willet and Marbled Godwit reports from YBWA and a Solitary Sandpiper was photographed along the River Walk at Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) on 9/19., The shorebird report of the season was a Black Turnstone photographed and seen by many from 9/15 through 9/22 at the Woodland WTP; a Red Knot was at the same location on 9/17. A juvenile Ruff was found and photographed at YBWA from 9/20-24 and aSanderling was at Beals Point, Folsom Lake, on 9/10. Pectoral Sandpiper reports were few, with one at Yolo County Rds 45 and 95B on 9/6, one at CRP along Desmond Rd on 9/13-14, and another at YBWA on 9/17.
The breeding Least Terns continued just into September, with one adult and one juvenile still present at the Sacramento Regional WTP on 9/4. “Several” Chimney Swifts were reported among a large flock of swifts along Babel Slough, including Vaux’s and White-throated, on 9/13. AShort-eared Owl was reported along Cherokee Ln in Galt on 9/27 and there were two Common Poorwills found on the lower CRP: one on 9/12 and another on 9/21.
A Least Flycatcher was an excellent report from CRP on 9/16 and single Dusky Flycatcherswere reported from CRP on the same day as well as along Michigan Bar Rd on 9/18. The firstGolden-crowned Kinglet reported this season was at Yolo County’s Grasslands Regional Park on 9/21. Rare warblers included a female or immature American Redstart found at the Gristmill access to ARP on 9/8 that may have been the same bird first found there on 8/30. A Northern Parula was found along Babel Slough on 9/5 and another was reported from Putah Creek and Mace Blvd on 9/11. A Tennessee Warbler was reported at Ancil Hoffman Park on 9/30 and a Blackpoll Warbler was found along Putah Creek downstream of Pedrick Rd on 9/12. A Black-and-white Warbler was found at Ancil Hoffman Park on 9/22, the same site where one was seen by many last fall, and two were reported at the UC Davis Arboretum on 9/29-30. Following on last month’s flurry of Green-tailed Towhee reports, one was photographed along Putah Creek between Davis and Winters on 9/6. Chipping Sparrows were reported at a feeder near Hazel Ave north of the American River on 9/18, at CRP on 9/21, and at Ancil Hoffman Park on 9/23. ABlack-chinned Sparrow found and photographed along Babel Slough on 9/30, continuing into October, was very unexpected and an extremely rare bird for the Valley floor (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist?subID=S25248948). Brewer’s Sparrow reports came from Arcade Creek near American River College on 9/14 and Michigan Bar Rd on 9/18. A female Painted Bunting seen and photographed (https://www.flickr.com/photos/toddeasterla/22453267345) at the Ione WTP on 9/12 was a really nice surprise. Among the few Pine Siskin reports was one from Lost Slough at CRP on 9/6.
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: Keith Bailey, Elliot Chasin, Lisa Couper, Chris Dunford, Todd Easterla, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Ted Gilliland, Steve Hampton, Scott Hoppe, Afton Kern, Dan Kopp, Alan Krakauer, Manfred Kusch, Jeri Langham, Eric LoPresti, Mark Martucci, Michael Perrone, Ron Pozzi, Mark Sawyer, John Sterling, Craig Swolgaard, Kevin Thomas, and John Trochet. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.