North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO2 2016

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/705084

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V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R 2 291 N O R T H E R N C A L I F O R N I A Palm Warblers was right on our average. A Prai- rie Warbler in the Presidio 1 Dec–1 Jan (PSar, m.ob.) marked the second or third winter record for S.F. Five Hermit Warblers were all in coastal counties, as were all 9 of our Wilson's Warblers. SPARROWS THROUGH FINCHES A Green-tailed Towhee in Fall River Mills 11 Dec (Boyd & Cathy Turner) provided a winter first for Shasta. Green-tailed Towhees were also at Flatiron Marsh, Solano 19 Dec–4 Jan (DRs, SRs, JCS et al.) and at the U.C. Farm, Santa Cruz 20 Dec–25 Feb (J.J. Mack, RRa, BRa, m.ob.). For the first time since 2000-2001, no winter Amer - ican Tree Sparrows were reported. Five Clay- colored Sparrows represented a typical showing. A Black-throated Sparrow at Pixley N.W.R., Tu - lare 21 Feb (Alison Sheehey et al.) was an excel- lent C.V. find. Four Lark Buntings included one along Tim Bell Rd., Stanislaus 20 Dec (JHr, Sandi Schoeppe) and another along Robinson Rd., So - lano 10 Feb (Noah Reid et al.). Two others were fall holdovers: one along Higgins Canyon Rd., San Mateo 18 Dec (RSTh et al.) and the other along Tehama Ave., Kings 23 Jan (MSy). A Le Conte's Sparrow was at Abbotts Lagoon, Marin 20 Dec–24 Jan (Wendy Dreskin, SBT, RyT, ph. Ken Schneider). Nelson's Sparrows included as many as 2 at Moonglow Dairy, Monterey 3 Jan+ (RF, ph. DR, m.ob.) and a lone bird at Arrow - head Marsh, Alameda 20 Jan (Scott Bowers). The precise winter range of Thick-billed Fox Sparrows (Passerella iliaca megarhyncha) re - mains uncertain, but the impressive numbers (e.g., up to 10 along one 6-km transect) of this taxon reported from the upper elevations of the s. Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Cruz and Santa Lucia Mountains, Monterey this season suggest these rarely birded areas may represent regular wintering locations. Forty-two Swamp Sparrows was a bit over our average tally, but a dozen Har - ris's Sparrows was double our average total. A long-staying and generally cooperative Rustic Bunting was in Golden Gate Park 6 Dec+ (ASH, m.ob.), providing S.F. its first, the Region its fourth, and the state its fifth record. Eight Summer Tanagers were all in coastal counties, a total more than twice our long-term linas, Marin 27 Dec (ph. PP) found during the Southern Marin County C.B.C. provided one of few substan - tiated winter records for the Region. Varied Thrushes continued to be reported in large numbers through much of the Region, with a high count of 1015 in Santa Cruz during the Santa Cruz C.B.C. 20 Dec (fide EFe), a total more than four times the recent 10-year average. This season was exceptional for the complete lack of notable mim - id reports. It's a rare winter that we don't get at least one Gray Catbird or out-of-range thrasher. Longspurs were also scarce, with one Lapland Longspur at H.R.S. 3-16 Dec (RJR), 6 at three locations in Humboldt 6 Dec–28 Feb (TKz, Jared Hughey, AxL, m.ob.), and one on F.I. 17-18 Dec (Point Blue). Up to 6 Chestnut-collared Longspurs were on Bear River Ridge, Humboldt 31 Jan–24 Feb (Jared Hughey, m.ob.). Our only McCown's Longspur report was a heard-only bird along County Line Rd., Colusa 18 Feb (JCS). A secretive Ovenbird was at Mountain View, Santa Clara 11 Jan+ (ph. MMR, ph. m.ob.). A total of 7 Northern Waterthrushes was nearly double our average, and 15 Black-and-white Warblers also made an above-average total. Ten - nessee Warblers were at Belmont, San Mateo 20 Dec–7 Feb (RSTh, LBt) and at the U.C. Arbore - tum, Santa Cruz 14 Jan–10 Feb (JGa). We often miss Lucy's Warbler, so singles at Santa Clara 29 Dec (first Santa Clara record; ph. Stephan Pleines, fide PDu) and Bodega Bay, Sonoma 15 Jan+ (DFr, m.ob.) made for a good showing. Twenty-three Nashville Warblers was a typical tally. A MacGillivray's Warbler s. of McKinleyville 2-26 Dec (GSL) provided Humboldt its second or third winter record, and a Hooded Warbler at Natural Bridges S.B. 13 Jan–16 Feb (Jack Mazza, ph. m.ob.) was the second individual to winter in Santa Cruz (the other bird having spent two consecutive winters in the late 1990s). A North - ern Parula first found in fall near Basso Bridge, Stanislaus (JHG, m.ob.) continued through 3 Jan (Xavier Sandoval, Sergio Pineda), providing a first winter record for that county. Likewise, a Northern Parula at Stanford University 15 Dec (RFu, Joyce Wong, Sophie Christel) also pro - vided Santa Clara its first winter record. Our only Blackburnian Warbler was at Half Moon Bay, San Mateo 21 Dec (ph. Donna Pomeroy). Eight Yellow Warblers were all in coastal coun - ties. A Black-throated Blue Warbler was at Lee Vining, Mono 10 Dec (Paul McFarland, m.ob.). Black-throated Blues were also at Smith River 10 Jan–15 Feb (Terry Allaway, ADB, m.ob.; sec - ond for Del Norte) and Los Gatos, Santa Clara 9-16 Feb (Marty Sidor, ph. m.ob.). A total of 26 teo, 14 Nov–8 Mar (RSTh, m.ob.) was the only one re - ported. Merced hosted our only Vermilion Flycatchers, with 2 continuing from fall—a female on lower Santa Fe Grade Rd. through 13 Jan (ph. KVV), an - other female at Merced N.W.R. through 17 Feb (m.ob.), and a male at the Grasslands W.A. near Los Banos 30 Dec–13 Jan (Greg Gerstenberg, ph. KVV). An Ash-throated Flycatcher at Arcata, Humboldt 31 Jan (Dominic DiMauro) furnished a rare winter record for the Region. Among the 15 Tropical Kingbirds reported was the first for Tulare at the Tulare W.T.P. 4-18 Jan (JLt, ph. SDS). The single Western Kingbird reported, at the Aptos Creek mouth 3 Jan+ (ph. Randy Wardle, Shirley Murphy, m.ob.), provided the third winter record for Santa Cruz. Our only Scissor-tailed Flycatcher visited Half Moon Bay 24 Nov–6 Dec (ph. Tim Sullivan et al.), establish - ing the second Dec record for San Mateo. Our southernmost Northern Shrike was along Rancho Tehama Rd., Tehama 26 Nov–6 Jan (DJK, m.ob.). Our only Plumbeous Vireo spent its fourth consecutive winter at San Lo - renzo Park, Santa Cruz 20 Dec–5 Feb (CSz, DvS, m.ob.). Five Cassin's Vireos included 2 inland and 3 coastal. Warbling Vireos included 2 at Golden Gate Park 5 Dec (Russ Bright) and one at H.R.S. 14 Feb (RJR). The Steller's Jay irruption noted in fall diminished in winter, with small numbers lingering in portions of the n. C.V., where the species is normally scarce to absent (BED). The Blue Jay at Willow Creek, Humboldt continued through 7 Jan (COg). Single out-of- place Clark's Nutcrackers appeared at Mount Saint Helena 15 Jan (Napa's second) and Hood Mountain R.P., Sonoma 22 Jan (both DgSh). Unseasonable swallows included single Cliffs at Yolo Bypass W.A., Yolo 27 Dec (MPe) and Sacramento Regional W.T.P., Sacramento 30 Dec (Steve Scott) and 14 Dec/Jan reports of Barns, many involving multiple birds. After 12 years of no detections, the tenuous and mercu - rial population of Mountain Chickadees at Cone Peak, Monterey was rediscovered 18-19 Jan, with 1-2 birds reported each day (MSy, JSL). Three Chestnut-backed Chickadees at Los Banos Creek Reservoir 29 Dec (ph. RMu) provided one of few records for Merced and the first there to be photographically documented. Fourteen reports of Townsend's Solitaires away from areas of resi - dency included Solano's fifth, with a single bird at Gates Canyon Rd. 5 Jan (Ashley Casey, Cory Gregory, m.ob.), and a high count of 40-50 on Mount Saint Helena, Sonoma 22 Jan–16 Feb (DN, ESH, m.ob.). A Swainson's Thrush at Bo - Swainson's Thrush is reported nearly every winter in Northern California, but such reports are rarely verifiable. This Swainson's Thrush at Bolinas, Marin County 27 December 2014 was one of the few reported ever to be adequately documented. Photograph by Peter Pyle. The Northern California region has hosted four of the state's five Rustic Buntings. This bird was at Golden Gate Park from 6 (here 13) December 2014 through the end of the winter period, afford- ing many birders excellent studies. Photograph by Ed Harper.

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