Les Lieurance and I enjoyed birding in Lake County from the
afternoon of Saturday, February 18 through mid-morning on Monday,
February 20, 2006. We spent most of our time along the shores of
the lake, which is teeming with many thousands of gulls and grebes
plus smaller numbers of various ducks. We observed everyone from
coots to gulls to grebes to ducks feeding on small, silvery fish
that appeared to be in great abundance, especially between the
Kumlien's address (11021 Lakeshore Drive) and the Pine Dell Resort.
On our way to the lake Saturday afternoon, we saw the continuing
HOODED MERGANSERs and CANVASBACKs at Detert Reservoir.
On Sunday afternoon we stopped at 11021 Lakeshore Drive and
immediately noticed the bird "showing features of a KUMLIEN'S
ICELAND GULL", first reported by Floyd Hayes. Even when the eyes
glaze over from staring at so many other gulls, this bird stands out
as distinctly different. It was sitting on the railing of the dock
from about 2:25 PM to 2:45 PM. On the boathouse roof next to it was
a GLAUCOUS GULL. This was our second GLAUCOUS GULL of the day we
saw another individual that morning north of Clearlake Oaks on
Highway 20. The Kumlien's Iceland Gull flew off, and Les relocated
it a few minutes later sitting on the water off the parking area of
the gas station at the Pine Dell Resort. Les got some great video
of this gull and will post it in a few days.
Other gulls we saw throughout the weekend were HERRING, GLAUCOUS-
WINGED, WESTERN (one), MEW, RING-BILLED, CALIFORNIA and THAYER'S
(two.) COMMON MERGANSERs were numerous on the lake, but we were
unable to find a Red-breasted. We had no trouble finding COMMON
GOLDENEYEs, but could not find a Barrow's. Grebes included the
usual 5: WESTERN, CLARK'S, EARED, HORNED and PIED-BILLED.
Also on Sunday, we heard and then saw a TOWNSEND'S WARBLER in the
redwood trees at Harbor Park in Lucerne. While checking the
waterbirds from the boat launch in Clearlake Oaks, we saw a male
PHAINOPEPLA in the tall leafless bushes on the lake side of the
parking lot. (The bushes have some clumps of mistletoe.) We saw 2
male EURASIAN WIGEON in a flooded field 1/4 mile east of Rodman
At Borax Lake, the thousands (we estimated 5,000 to 6,000) of
GREATER SCAUP (also some LESSER SCAUP and 2 RING-NECKED DUCKs) made
for a challenging 1.5+ hour search, but we just couldn't tear
ourselves away, and I eventually found one of the male TUFTED DUCKs.
We went to the Glen Eden Trailhead on Scott's Valley Road at 6:00 AM
on both Sunday and Monday. We did not see or hear Long-eared Owl
(reported by George Chaniot), but heard several each WESTERN SCREECH-
OWLs and NORTHERN PYGMY-OWLs. We also saw a pair of GREAT HORNED
OWLs engage in various pair-bonding and courtship activities,
including the male delivering a rodent to the female both mornings,
the two of them flying from tree to tree together, calling back and
forth to each other, and copulation.
Cindy & Les Lieurance
cindy at petrels dot com