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RE: [CALBIRDS] Tuolumne County Big Day - New Record

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  • Rich Stallcup
    You Guys ROCK !! * RICH From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Matt Brady Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:29 PM
    Message 1 of 2 , May 4, 2010
      You Guys ROCK !!

      * RICH

      From: CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com [mailto:CALBIRDS@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Matt Brady
      Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:29 PM
      To: CALBIRDS; countybirders@yahoogroups.com; Mtn Birds
      Cc: Dan Maxwell; Oliver James; Jim Tietz; Ryan Terrill; Jill Gautreaux; Maggie MacPherson; Halle Brady; Mike Brady; Oscar Johnson; Adam Searcy; Joe Morlan
      Subject: [CALBIRDS] Tuolumne County Big Day - New Record

      Hello All. Yesterday, May 2nd, the original Calaveras County big day team (Oliver James, Dan Maxwell and myself) were joined by Nick Vandyken for a Tuolumne County big day. After almost 15 hours in the field, we ended the day with 130 species, 22 more than the previous record, set on September 19th, 2004, by Steve Glover, John Luther, Ed Pandolfino and John Sterling.

      We started the day by owling above Tuolumne City, but had very little luck; we then dropped down to Jamestown, where we lucked into Western Screech-Owl and Common Poorwill. Dan had scoped out a good dawn chorus site near Table Mountain, which is off Rawhide Rd. There, we recorded 50 species by 7:30AM, including a California Thrasher and a Gray Flycatcher in the Blue Oak woodland. We then headed to Pheonix Lake on Highway 108 above Sonora, which yielded a few ducks, among them a male Hooded Merganser and our only non-Killdeer shorebird of the day: a single Least Sandpiper. A number of stops between Twain Harte and Pinecrest yielded most of the expected montane species, though nothing too unusual. Lyons Lake Road was particularly productive. We then descended back into the lowlands for more waterbirds and grassland birds. Our 109th species (to beat the previous record), a Northern Harrier along the Stanislaus River below Tulloch Lake, was seen at
      11:56, four minutes before noon!

      The next 21 species came quite slowly, though stops at the La Grange Rd pond was productive, as was River Rock Road. Don Pedro Reservoir was mostly bereft of new birds. The dam and town at Moccasin felt pretty productive, as we added a few new species in short order there. After exhausting most of the reasonably expected birds, we ended the day, with some daylight to spare, back in Jamestown, where our last two birds of the day were Downy Woodpecker and American Crow.

      We did have a few significant misses, birds that we should have run in to, but did not for one reason or another. Most egregious among these was Fox Sparrow. We probably simply didn't get high enough, but we couldn't find any in appropriate-looking habitat above Pinecrest. Barn Owl was another bad miss, probably. We also did not run into a Cooper's Hawk. Mountain Quail have been very quiet in the Sierras this spring in general; we missed them in Calaveras County, and I've only encountered a few in El Dorado County, so missing them on Sunday was disappointing. Other birds that it seems like we ought to have had include Yellow-billed Magpie, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Canyon Wren, Hermit Thrush, Common Yellowthroat and Evening Grosbeak.

      Good birding,

      Matt Brady
      Placerville, ED

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