San Benito County Today: We Have Incubation!
- Howdy, Birders,
It was a gorgeous day for birding � I couldn't resist getting out there! Some highlights for SAN BENITO COUNTY:
At PAICINES RESERVOIR I found 1 EURASIAN WIGEON, 2 CACKLING GEESE, 5 WHITE-FRONTED GEESE, one 4th year BALD EAGLE in the morning and one adult MALE BALD EAGLE in the late afternoon, 1 SPOTTED SANDPIPER and an assortment of waterfowl.
On PANOCHE ROAD I found the "usual suspects," including PHAINOPEPLA, RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW, HERMIT THRUSH, etc. Quite a few singing CALIFORNIA THRASHERS, WRENTITS, OAK TITS, etc. as is normal for this time of year. Two HOODED MERGANSERS were at the pond at Summit Ranch. Be sure to look on the duck house! (I failed to find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which had been around for several weeks). At the intersection of Panoche and Recalde Roads, a MERLIN was present. Sixteen MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS were along Recalde Road. On Panoche Road from Silver Creek Ranch to Jackass Pass at least 28 MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS were in mixed flocks with House Finches. Unusual birds included one SAGE SPARROW and one male NORTHERN HARRIER. A FERRUGINOUS HAWK was hunting here, also.
Back on lower QUIEN SABE ROAD, one adult GOLDEN EAGLE was perched on a small tree and one BURROWING OWL was present. A PRAIRIE FALCON sped by. Here, I reconnected with Leslie Flint and the Sequoia Audubon folks. (We had run into run into each other at Paicines Reservoir in the morning). Her group was busily watching many GOLDEN EAGLES and several FERRUGINOUS HAWKS. We zipped around on SANTA ANA VALLEY ROAD to the spot where the EASTERN PHOEBE lives.
Within 10 seconds, I had spotted the phoebe. In general, the "parade" of raptors continues on Santa Ana Valley Road, as previously reported on my blog posts. The most productive location is near the intersection of Santa Ana Valley and John Smith Roads. Up to 30 golden eagles and 7 ferruginous hawks, including one dark morph have been present in this area.
Today, I am absolutely thrilled to report that "Bernadette" has rolled out her eggs and is incubating. "Bob and Bernadette" are the names that I have given to the mated pair of BALD EAGLES whose nest was discovered in 2004� the first bald eagle nest ever, in San Benito County. I've monitored this nest every year. This egg date is within 14 days of last year's egg date. Of course, I have no idea of the actual date of laying, as I am watching the nest from a distance of about a mile and I don't check it every day. (So, for instance, I didn't check the nest yesterday. So, she may have laid her first egg yesterday, or two days ago. I can only go by dates when I check. Last year, I confirmed that she was on eggs about February 10th). She is deep in the nest, while Bob goes hunting during the day, and perches about 4 feet on a branch above and to the side of the nest in the evening. They will need to protect their eggs from ravens and magpies who would steal them for food. Both eagles are quite capable when it comes to this, as I have observed in years past. Since I spent most of 2011 home, I was able to monitor them more closely than ever. This particular pair stayed together for the entire year. This is often the case for nesting bald eagles at this latitude. Since late September, they have been within sight of each other, every day that I've been able to observe them. Quite the couple! Most years, they have produced and fledged two young. Please check my blog for updates on their progress. This bald eagle nest is one of three known nests in San Benito County. All are on private property and there is no access.
Elsewhere in the county, the first ALLEN'S HUMMINGBIRD showed up this week.
San Benito County Birding
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024
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