North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO2 2018

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

Issue link: http://nab.aba.org/i/1028840

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V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 8 ) • N U M B E R 2 229 N O R T H E R N C A L I F O R N I A one, at Hanford, Kings 6-8 Feb (MSy), at the same location where 2 were present in 2012- 2013. A total of 11 Cassin's Kingbirds away from areas of regular occurrence, including 4 as far north as San Joaquin, made for a good showing. Our only Western Kingbird was a disheveled-looking bird at the Tracy W.T.P., San Joaquin 8 Dec (ph. Terry Ronneberg). Non-resident vireos included 4 Cassin's with 2 from coastal and bayside counties and 2 inland, and one Warbling Vireo sing- ing at Briones R.P, Contra Costa 27 Feb (An- drew Rush). Plumas's first Blue Jay lingered through the period (Paul Hardy, Gary Rotta, CPD, DPA, ph., m.ob.). Numbers have been building locally, but a group of 114 Com- mon Ravens at Riley Rd. during the Rio Cosumnes C.B.C. 4 Jan (AEn) established a new single-site high count for Sacramento. Our only overwintering Northern Rough- winged Swallow was at Bridgeway Island Pond, Yolo 24 Dec–7 Jan (Maureen Geiger). Winter (Dec-Jan) Barn Swallows were much more plentiful, with 28 birds tallied in three coastal counties: Humboldt, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz. Townsend's Solitaire away from areas of residency included 11 birds from five coastal or bayside counties. A Swainson's Thrush at Golden Gate Park, S.F. 24-30 Dec (JsC, ph. m.ob.) provided one of the Region's few verified winter records. Coincidentally, it follows one from Marin last winter. Some areas, especially in coastal and bayside coun- ties, witnessed massive numbers of roosting, commuting, and foraging American Robins. Four teams of counters armed with hand- held clickers tallied just over 90,000 birds flying into a night roost at Carmel Valley Village, Monterey 7 Jan (BLS, PFw, CRo, RC, DR, et al.). Although that number was near- ly double the previous single-locality high count for the Region, it paled in comparison to the mind-blowing estimate of 245,000 birds departing roost sites at the same loca- tion 20 Jan (BLS, PFw). In contrast, Varied Thrushes were scarce in the Region; perhaps emblematic, numbers in Santa Clara were down 75% from the 10-year average (fide WGB). THRASHERS THROUGH WARBLERS Three Sage Thrashers, a typical showing, were all found in Feb and entailed singles at Shollenberger Park, Sonoma 2-4 Feb (Aude- vard Aurelien, m.ob.); Las Gallinas, Marin 13 Feb (David Barry); along Highway 37 in Napa, Solano, and Sonoma 15-20 Feb (Alison Sheehey, MBe). A Le Conte's Thrasher was singing at Fish Slough, Mono 1 Jan (Susan Steele). Ferndale and Arcata Bottoms, Hum- boldt produced most of the Region's Lapland vian, and Saunders's), which should be con- sidered with such unseasonal records, were not necessarily eliminated in the case of the 2004 bird but appear to be eliminated in the case of the F.I. specimen. DOVES THROUGH THRUSHES Although hardly notable compared with the results of last winter's incursion, one Band-tailed Pigeon at Lodi Lake N.A., San Joaquin 5 Dec (Pat Paternostro) and 47 at Michigan Bar, Sacramento 8 Feb (GEw) provided unusual records for the C.V. Four White-winged Doves included one at Moss Landing, Monterey that continued from fall through 8 Jan (DSy, ph. DR et al.), one at Benicia, Solano Dec 1+ (ph. Danny Swice- good), and 2 at Holland Tract 17 Dec–2 Feb (LKh, Jansen Liu, m.ob.), representing the third record for Contra Costa and one of few for the C.V. Humboldt has amassed more re- cords of Snowy Owl than any other county in CA; it added another on Humboldt Bay's South Spit 18-19 Feb (ph. Brad Elvert, m.ob.). This was not the only owl to gener- ate buzz in the county, however. Humboldt's third Great Gray Owl, at Prairie Creek Red- woods S.P. 19 Jan+, attracted numerous ob- servers (Danielle Westberg, Emily Christian, ph., m.ob.). In contrast with those during last winter's invasion, numbers of Lewis's Woodpeckers in the Region this winter were remarkably low. Also unusually scarce this season was Yellow-bellied Sapsucker; the to- tal of 5 reported was nearly 80% lower than the 10-year average. Although the total of 11 Red-naped Sapsuckers, including Yolo's second at Putah Creek Resort 16 Dec (Rick Williams) was closer to the 10-year average for that species, it was still 65% lower than last winter's total. Only 3 Empidonax flycatchers were re- ported during the period. They included one Least Flycatcher at Ferndale Bottoms, Humboldt 3-6 Jan (ph. TKz, m.ob.) and 2 Pacific-slope Flycatchers: one at Clear Lake S.P., Lake 15 Dec (DvW) and another at Soquel, Santa Cruz 28 Feb (Aaron Gabbe). Three Eastern Phoebes included singles at Merced N.W.R., Merced 29 Nov–5 Dec (ph. Dale Swanberg, PDu); Eureka Marsh, Humboldt (ph. RbF, Laurie Lawrence); S.F. Zoo, S.F. 29 Dec+ (ph. DPM, ph., m.ob.). A Brown-crested Flycatcher at Holland Tract 17 Dec (ph. LKh, m.ob.) furnished the first record for Contra Costa and the second for the Region. Tropical Kingbirds have been increasing in the Region and the total of 19 this period represents an all-time seasonal high, more than three times the 10-year average. All were in coastal counties except ville 29 Jan (ph., †AMR) that provided an overdue first record for Santa Cruz; a first cycle at Folsome Lake, Placer 3 Feb with an ad. there 6 Feb (TEa, JCS, m.ob.); an ad. at Upper Crystal Springs Res., San Mateo 9 Feb (RSTh). A distinctive ad. Slaty-backed Gull with a white upper-primary covert returned for its fourth winter to Miller/Knox R.S., Contra Costa 18-22 Jan (ph. STu, m.ob.). Another ad. was reported east of Suisun City, Solano 18-25 Jan (RMu, JCS, LKh). A first-cycle gull at Agua Vista Park, S.F. 3 Jan (ph. Noah Arthur) looked good for a Slaty- backed; identification criteria for first-cycle birds are still being worked out (see McKee, T., P. Pyle, and N. Moores. 2014. Vagrancy and identification in first cycle Slaty-backed Gulls. Birding 46:38-51). The season total of 27 Glaucous Gulls was below the 10-year average of 40/winter. Notable individuals included one walking streets in downtown S.F. 20-28 Jan (Everett Clark, ph. Jon Sieker, m.ob); single ads. well inland at Cosumnes River Preserve, Sacramento 17-25 Jan (JTr, ph. Bob Ellis) and Delevan N.W.R., Colusa 31 Jan (ph. Mario Balitbit); up to 2 first-cycle birds at the Koster Rd. pond, San Joaquin 6 Dec+ (JHm et al.). Caspian Terns winter regularly in our Re- gion only in Humboldt, where up to 8 were present at the Elk R. mouth into early-Feb (EE, m.ob.). They are much rarer in winter elsewhere, therefore three reports of single birds in Santa Cruz 1-24 Jan (Jennifer Green, DSy, MSc) were noteworthy. The first north- bound arrivals were noted 23 Feb at both Moss Landing, Monterey (DGl et al.) and San Leandro Marina, Alameda (RJR). The last Elegant Tern was at Seabright S.B., Santa Cruz 13 Dec (AMR). Royal Terns once again made news. Three at South Ocean Beach 2 Jan (†PSar) provided the first modern S.F. record, and one at Twin Lakes S.B. 21 Dec (ph. RyT) provided the first record for Santa Cruz since 1988. Up to 5 near Año Nuevo S.R., San Mateo throughout most of Jan wan - dered into Santa Cruz 13 & 23 Jan (AMR, JSL). In Monterey, 7 were documented at Pt. Pinos through 31 Jan (Tony Leukering, ph. BLS, ph. DR, m.ob.), and one was at Moss Landing 15 Jan (Richard Sandkuhle). Pro- viding a remarkable winter record, a juv. Least Tern found dead (Cassie Bednar, ph. Taylor Nairn) furnished a first F.I. record 19 Jan. The bird had not been dead more than one-to-two weeks based on the condition of the specimen. Least Terns winter primar- ily in South America, and there is only one prior winter record for the Region: a bird videotaped at Capitola, Santa Cruz 26 Feb 2004. Other small terns (such as Little, Peru-

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