Periods of transition are always interesting and September may be the richest transition period of the year. Warblers and other migrants move through in high numbers, tapering off a bit by the end of the month, while winter residents begin arriving in the form of waterfowl, cranes, and sparrows, to name a few. This September was richer than most in terms of rarities.
A few Least Bittern reports continued into this month, with singles at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area (YBWA) reported from 9/5-10 and one to two were calling from a wetlands mitigation bank on private land near Colusa NWR on 9/22. Shorebird activity tapered off a bit from last month, but there were still some interesting reports. A juvenile Semipalmated Sandpiper was found at YBWA on 9/6, and Pectoral Sandpipers were reported there from 9/1-21, with a high of three. Two Baird's Sandpipers and five Pectoral Sandpipers were reported from the Lincoln WTP on 9/2. Additional Pectoral Sandpipers were found at the Davis WTP from 9/26-28 (a high of four), and the Lost Slough portion of Cosumnes River Preserve (CRP) from 9/11 into October, with a high of eight (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31817709). A Solitary Sandpiper was found downstream of the Capay Bridge along Cache Creek on 9/3 and another was at the Davis WTP on 9/26-27 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31783369). A juvenile Long-tailed Jaeger (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31384909) was a nice surprise at the YBWA on 9/2, as was a juvenile Sabine's Gull at the Sacramento Regional WTP from 9/26 through 10/1 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31775169).
A migrating Common Poorwill at the Sacramento City Cemetery was a nice find on 9/2 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31706488). Single Hammond's Flycatchers were reported from the Sacramento County Bufferlands on 9/2, the Lost Slough portion of CRP on 9/4, and Babel Slough on 9/23-24. A Plumbeous Vireo was reported in north Davis on 9/22, but even more remarkable was a Philadelphia Vireo reported at Upper Sunrise along the American River Parkway on 9/13. This bird was well-seen but unfortunately did not linger for others to see or photograph it. An Ovenbird was reported from a Woodland yard on 9/18 and single Northern Waterthrushes were found at Blue Oaks Park in Roseville on 9/4, YBWA on 9/16 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31609722), and one was mist-netted and banded at Stone Lakes NWR on 9/21. An American Redstart was found along the Garden Hwy on 9/11, Blackpoll Warblers were reported from Babel Slough on 9/23 and along the Garden Hwy on 9/28, and a Canada Warbler at Lake Solano on 9/7 was an excellent find (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31471681). A Clay-colored Sparrow at Michigan Bar on 9/11 was the first photographed in Sacramento County (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31531919). Other interesting reports from Michigan Bar include a Brewer's Sparrow on 9/5 and a Vesper Sparrow on 9/24. A Green-tailed Towhee was found at Ancil Hoffman Park on 9/3 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31398786), a Thick-billed Fox Sparrow was reported along Putah Creek upstream from Winters on 9/13 (http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S31563631), and a female-type Orchard Oriole was reported along Babel Slough on 9/10.
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, Laura Davis, Matt Davis, Lily Douglas, Andy Engilis, Gil Ewing, Stephen Fettig, Frank Fogarty, Steve Hampton, Ed Harper, Cliff Hawley, Scott Hoppe, Stanton Hunter, Dan Kopp, Jeri Langham, Mark Martucci, Frances Oliver, Michael Perrone, Ron Pozzi, Brad Rangell, Jim Rowoth, Mark Sawyer, Steve Scott, Robert Shields, Ian Souza-Cole, Kirk Swenson, Kevin Thomas, John Trochet, Charley Walker, and Stan Wright. Thanks to everyone for their reports—without them, this column would not be possible.