Liz West & I headed over to Mendocino to bird over the New Year's Holiday. Found some great birds and met up with a few Mendo birders. On Wednesday we started out in Potter's Valley checking out all the ponds for wintering ducks & geese, and fence lines for potential wintering hawks. Highlights include a SAY'S PHOEBE, a RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, and a FERRUGINOUS HAWK. Nothing unusual to report for waterfowl.
From the boat ramp at Lake Mendocino we found; a SNOWY EGRET & SPOTTED SANDPIPER walking the edge of the lake, plus a number of LESSER SCAUP, AM WIGEON, and a few shovelers further out. A BALD EAGLE was sitting along the edge of the lake.
Next we headed up to Covelo & Round Valley. Lots of great potential spots along the river were checked for dippers, but unfortunately none were found. Soaring raptors included a GOLDEN EAGLE and lots of RT Hawks. In the valley we encountered another FERRUGINOUS HAWK and the juvenile ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK. Never did find the Prairie Falcon or Lewis' Woodpeckers.
On New Years Day, Chuck Vaughn graciously invited us on a tour of HREC (Hopland's Research & Experimental Center for UC Davis). What a great place to work & bird! We truly experienced the grand tour. Chuck started out by showing us the sag ponds where a COMMON MOORHEN (a rare treat for Mendo) has returned for another winter. Then from his office window we could see the feeding station where a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW is wintering. Next we headed up the hill looking for a few other wanted birds.
What a great day we had! The views were spectacular and the birding was great. Plus we found out the G. Kellar recorded the songs for his California Bird CD for both RC & Sage Sparrows on the property.
Bird highlights included; RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, CAL THRASHER, SAGE SPARROWS, MERLIN, and a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK. Plus lots of the expected Oak Woodland species were seen and more flocks of BT Pigeons than I've seen in a long time.
Next we headed over to Low Gap Rd. Missed out the RN Sapsucker but had both HAIRY & PILEATED WOODPECKERS, and calling MT QUAIL.
After saying good-by to Chuck we headed over to Lake Mendocino to check for Rock Wrens. Lots of people were walking the dam, so the wrens were MIA. Next we were off to the dipper spot along Hwy 20, no dipper but we did run into George Chariot.
All and all a great way to spend the New Years!
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