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Southern Lake County

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  • Floyd Hayes
    Early this morning there was a female BUFFLEHEAD and three male RUDDY DUCKS at the Clearlake Sewage Ponds. Light conditions were poor at Borax Lake, where I
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 2, 2005
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      Early this morning there was a female BUFFLEHEAD and
      three male RUDDY DUCKS at the Clearlake Sewage Ponds.

      Light conditions were poor at Borax Lake, where I saw
      at least 10 adult RUDDY DUCKS and 3 GADWALLS. One
      female RUDDY DUCK at the south end was accompanied by
      three small chicks. Also there were a WESTERN
      SANDPIPER and two LEAST SANDPIPERS at the south end. I
      was unable to relocate the worn female BUFFLEHEAD
      present on 18 June, which was considerably more worn
      than the female at the Clearlake Sewage Ponds and
      almost certainly a different individual.

      Floyd Hayes
      Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
    • Floyd Hayes
      Yesterday (9 June) I relocated both female BUFFLEHEADS: the highly worn bird at Borax Lake (near southeast corner; attempted unsuccesffuly to fly when closely
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 10, 2005
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        Yesterday (9 June) I relocated both female
        BUFFLEHEADS: the highly worn bird at Borax Lake (near
        southeast corner; attempted unsuccesffuly to fly when
        closely approached by a boy with a gun who shot and
        killed a BREWER'S BLACKBIRD) and the less worn bird at
        Clearlake Sewage Ponds. The RUDDY DUCK with 3 chicks
        was at the southwest corner of Borax Lake. I was
        unable to find any GADWALLS at Borax Lake but found an
        immature male WOOD DUCK.

        At Clearlake the CALIFORNIA GULL population doubled
        from about 20 to 40 birds during the past week and
        included the first juvenile of the season.

        On Friday (8 June) a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK captured a
        small bird in my yard.

        And belatedly, a male BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK was at
        Anderson Marsh on 15 June.

        Floyd Hayes
        Hidden Valley Lake, CA
      • Floyd Hayes
        Here are a few birds seen during the hot afternoon today in southern Lake County: LESSER SCAUP: male at Borax Lake, uncertain if a new arrival or overlooked
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 4, 2005
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          Here are a few birds seen during the hot afternoon
          today in southern Lake County:

          LESSER SCAUP: male at Borax Lake, uncertain if a new
          arrival or overlooked

          BUFFLEHEAD: female still at Borax Lake

          RING-BILLED GULL: adult at Clearlake

          SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER: four juveniles at Hidden
          Valley Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant

          At Detert Reservoir, three male RUDDY DUCKS (possibly
          females, too, but I didn't have a telescope) were
          present during 28-29 July.

          Floyd Hayes
          Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
        • Floyd Hayes
          Large numbers of dabbling ducks appear to be new arrivals. Here are some birds seen this morning. NORTHERN SHOVELER: 25 at Clearlake Wastewater Treatment
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 21, 2005
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            Large numbers of dabbling ducks appear to be new
            arrivals. Here are some birds seen this morning.

            NORTHERN SHOVELER: 25 at Clearlake Wastewater
            Treatment Plant; 6 at Borax Lake; 5 at Hidden Valley
            Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant.

            GREEN-WINGED TEAL: 1 at Clearlake Wastewater Treatment
            Plant; 3 at Borax Lake; 1 at Hidden Valley Lake
            Wastewater Treatment Plant.

            CINNAMON/BLUE-WINGED TEAL: 13 at Borax Lake; 1 at
            Hidden Valley Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant.

            GADWALL: 5 at Clearlake Wastewater Treatment Plant; 10
            at Borax Lake.

            BUFFLEHEAD: female at Clearlake Wastewater Treatment
            Plant (couldn't find female at Borax Lake, or the male
            Lesser Scaup)

            SOLITARY SANDPIPER: 1 at Borax Lake.

            BAIRD'S SANDPIPER: 1 juvenile at Borax Lake.

            SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER: 5 juveniles at Borax Lake.

            RED-NECKED PHALAROPE: 1

            Floyd Hayes
            Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
          • Floyd Hayes
            Birds seen on 28 August: REDHEAD: two (males?) at Borax Lake. AMERICAN WIGEON: two males at Borax Lake. NORTHERN PINTAIL: about 110 at Borax Lake. BUFFLEHEAD:
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 29, 2005
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              Birds seen on 28 August:

              REDHEAD: two (males?) at Borax Lake.
              AMERICAN WIGEON: two males at Borax Lake.
              NORTHERN PINTAIL: about 110 at Borax Lake.
              BUFFLEHEAD: one female at Borax Lake.
              CINNAMON TEAL: 17 at Borax Lake.
              WILLOW FLYCATCHER: one at Redbud Park; one at Anderson
              Marsh.

              Belatedly, a male RING-NECKED DUCK was at Borax Lake
              on 22 August, and another was in Pope Valley, in Napa
              County just south of Lake County, on 18 August.

              Floyd Hayes
              Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
            • Floyd Hayes
              On Saturday evening, 24 September, an AMERICAN AVOCET was at the Hidden Valley Water Reclamation Plant, along with a male GREATER SCAUP and a bizarre male
              Message 6 of 14 , Sep 25, 2005
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                On Saturday evening, 24 September, an AMERICAN AVOCET
                was at the Hidden Valley Water Reclamation Plant,
                along with a male GREATER SCAUP and a bizarre male
                MALLARD with a fairly bright orange head (either a
                mutant or a hybrid, but everything else looks
                Mallard--when I find the time I'll post som photos).

                There wasn't much of interest at Anderson Marsh,
                Clearlake or Borax Lake.

                Floyd Hayes
                Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
              • Floyd Hayes
                This afternoon (Sunday the 6th) a female SURF SCOTER provided a pleasant surprise at the Clearlake Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the Hidden Valley Lake
                Message 7 of 14 , Nov 6, 2005
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                  This afternoon (Sunday the 6th) a female SURF SCOTER
                  provided a pleasant surprise at the Clearlake
                  Wastewater Treatment Plant. At the Hidden Valley Lake
                  Wastewater Treatment Plant there were seven CINNAMON
                  TEAL, five CANVASBACKS, six LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS, a
                  DUNLIN and eight LEAST SANDPIPERS (the most shorebirds
                  I've seen there). At Borax Lake there were three
                  CANVASBACKS (first I've seen there). A juvenile
                  THAYER'S GULL was among the gulls on the dock at
                  Austin Park both this afternoon and on 29 October.

                  Floyd Hayes
                  Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
                • Floyd Hayes
                  Here s a summary of recent sightings: COMMON LOON: one at Clearlake Park, one at Sulphur Bank Point, 12-04. REDHEAD: one female at Hidden Valley Lake, 12-04;
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 4, 2005
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                    Here's a summary of recent sightings:

                    COMMON LOON: one at Clearlake Park, one at Sulphur
                    Bank Point, 12-04.

                    REDHEAD: one female at Hidden Valley Lake, 12-04; two
                    males and a female at Hidden Valley Lake, 11-20.

                    CINNAMON TEAL: three males and four females at Hidden
                    Valley Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, 12-04 (present
                    since 10-29).

                    WESTERN GULL: one 1st-basic, one 2nd-basic and one
                    adult at Clearlake, 12-04; two adults at Clearlake,
                    11-25 and 11-27.

                    GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL: seven 1st-basic, two 2nd-basic,
                    one 3rd-basic and one adult at Clearlake and Clearlake
                    Park, 12-04 (smaller numbers in late November).

                    Presumed WESTERN X GLAUCOUS-WINGED GULL: one
                    3rd/4th-basic at Clearlake, 12-04 (adult-like with
                    dark smudges near tip of thick yellowish bill; gonys
                    prominent; iris dark but slightly pale; head with
                    distinct grayish hood; mantle color intermediate;
                    primary tips blackish with white tips, but pale
                    underneath; legs pink).

                    THAYER'S GULL: three 1st-basic, one 2nd-basic, one
                    3rd-basic and two adults at Clearlake and Clearlake
                    Park, 12-04 (smaller numbers in late November).

                    MEW GULL: one adult at Clearlake, 12-04; one 1st-basic
                    at Clearlake, 11-27 (only individuals I've seen at
                    Clear Lake since last winter).

                    LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER: one 1st-basic at Borax Lake,
                    12-04 (two on 11-20); three 1st-basic at Hidden Valley
                    Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant, 11-27 (absent on
                    12-04).

                    LEAST SANDPIPER: one at Hidden Valley Lake Wastewater
                    Treatment Plant, 12-04 (12 on 11-27).

                    WILSON'S SNIPE: two at Hidden Valley Lake Wastewater
                    Treament Plant, 11-27 (one on 11-20).

                    PHAINOPEPLA: one female at Anderson Marsh, 11-26.

                    Floyd Hayes
                    Hidden Valley Lake, Lake County
                  • Floyd Hayes
                    This evening I found a lone ROSS S GOOSE among 128+ CANADA GEESE in a flooded, brushy field west of the junction of Spruce Rd. Ext. and Hwy. 29 at Hidden
                    Message 9 of 14 , Jan 8, 2006
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                      This evening I found a lone ROSS'S GOOSE among 128+
                      CANADA GEESE in a flooded, brushy field west of the
                      junction of Spruce Rd. Ext. and Hwy. 29 at Hidden
                      Valley Lake. Spruce Rd. Ext. is on the west side of
                      Highway 29 opposite Hidden Valley Rd. (entrance to
                      gated Hidden Valley Lake community), about 5 miles
                      north of Middletown. On Monday I was surprised to find
                      a female COMMON GOLDENEYE and six BUFFLEHEADS in a
                      shallow pool there that couldn't have been deeper than
                      a few feet.

                      Also today, a PRAIRIE FALCON and a FERRUGINOUS HAWK
                      were in the open fields along Butts Canyon Rd. south
                      of Middletown and two immature BALD EAGLES were at
                      Detert Reservoir.

                      On Monday, two CINNAMON TEAL were at the Hidden Valley
                      Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant but they were absent
                      today.

                      Floyd Hayes
                      Hidden Valley Lake, CA
                    • Floyd Hayes
                      Yesterday was by far my best day birding in the county. Here are the highlights, beginning with the species whose identity is certain: GLAUCOUS GULL:
                      Message 10 of 14 , Jan 17, 2006
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                        Yesterday was by far my best day birding in the
                        county. Here are the highlights, beginning with the
                        species whose identity is certain:

                        GLAUCOUS GULL: First-basic immature on dock at Austin
                        Park, Clearlake, from 10:25-10:40 am (absent at 3:15
                        and 4:30 pm); a photo is posted at:

                        http://www.geocities.com/floyd_hayes/glaucousgull

                        TUFTED DUCK: Adult male with long tuft, pure black
                        back and pure white sides with 680 scaup (in three
                        flocks) at Borax Lake, from 4:10-4:25 pm. No photo
                        (drizzling, poor light).

                        Possible KUMLIEN'S ICELAND GULL: First-basic immature
                        on dock at Pirate’s Cove, Clearlake Park, from
                        8:00-9:15 am (absent during early to mid-afternoon).
                        This bird’s identity is controversial. However, a well
                        known gull expert in Newfoundland and Jon Dunn here in
                        CA thought the photos looked great for Kumlien’s (a
                        few others have disagreed; I'm looking forward to
                        receiving more opinions). If anybody is lucky enough
                        to relocate this bird (driving directions are given at
                        the end of this message), good views or photos of the
                        secondaries would be useful in evaluating its
                        identity. Photos with a link to comments (so you can
                        judge for yourself whether chasing this bird might be
                        worthwhile) are posted at:

                        http://www.geocities.com/floyd_hayes/mysterygull

                        OTHER GULLS: The identity of two other interesting
                        gulls at Clearlake Park eluded confirmation. The first
                        was a 3rd-basic immature with very dark back and wings
                        (lacking white-tipped primaries), seen for <1 min at
                        9:10 am. It had a bicolored bill, pink legs and a
                        broad white secondary skirt. When I noticed it had a
                        pale iris, dark smudge behind the eye and dark
                        streaking on the hindneck, I instantly jumped into my
                        car to retrieve my camera battery which was recharging
                        at a nearby gas station, but when I returned 4 minutes
                        later the bird was gone. I’m convinced it was either a
                        Western or Slaty-backed Gull, but don't know which.
                        The pale iris and dark markings were real but perhaps
                        not quite as contrasting as I would have liked for a
                        Slaty-backed.

                        The second gull was scoped out on the lake by Jerry
                        White in the early afternoon (when the gulls had
                        abandoned the docks). According to Jerry, it "seemed
                        to fit an adult Kumlien's quite closely," but there
                        are no photos.

                        In addition to the above gulls there are at least a
                        half dozen Western Gulls of various ages (mostly
                        adult), probably a dozen Glaucous-winged Gulls (mostly
                        1st-basic), several hybrid Western X Glaucous-winged
                        Gulls (2nd-basic, 3rd-basic and adult) and many
                        Thayer’s Gulls, all roaming the southern Clear Lake
                        area.

                        The ROSS'S GOOSE seen at Hidden Valley Lake on Sunday
                        the 8th has not been seen since.

                        TIPS FOR "GULLING" SOUTHERN CLEAR LAKE: If you are
                        interested in searching for these gulls, be forewarned
                        that there are thousands of gulls at Clearlake with
                        only a small proportion at any time roosting within
                        easy viewing range on a few scattered docks.
                        Furthermore, the presence of gulls on the docks is
                        unpredictable due to frequent human disturbance. More
                        gulls tend to loaf on the docks when it is raining,
                        presumably due to a lower frequency of human
                        disturbance. Most of the gulls are far out in the lake
                        and many shuttle back and forth between the landfill
                        south of Clearlake. I do see some individual gulls
                        repeatedly, even on different docks, so relocating
                        these gulls is certainly feasible (and I'll be trying
                        every weekend). Visibility is best in the morning.
                        Here are the best spots to study gulls from south to
                        north:

                        Clearlake Landfill: From the junction of Lakeshore
                        Drive and Hwy 53 in Clearlake, drive south and turn
                        left (following the sign) at the first road. Follow
                        this road until it turns right and eventually ends at
                        the landfill. The managers wouldn’t let me enter the
                        landfill but the gulls can be viewed from a paved road
                        on a hillside that veers left just before the landfill
                        entrance. The views are distant, but I've picked out
                        Western, Glaucous-winged and Thayer's. And it's closed
                        on Sundays and holidays, when the gulls are absent.

                        Red Bud Park: From the junction of Lakeshore Drive and
                        Hwy 53 in Clearlake, drive north on Lakeshore Drive
                        past the first stoplight and look for Kathie’s Inn on
                        the left. Just beyond the inn, turn left and check out
                        the obvious docks, which gulls often roost on before
                        the fishermen spook them. A large flock is invariably
                        on the water well beyond the docks. Also, drive
                        through the park toward the southwest to Golf Rd. and
                        turn right. After a few hundred yards a dock is
                        visible on the right.

                        Austin Park: Continue northward on Lakeshore Drive to
                        an obvious beach on the left just before the junction
                        of Olympic Drive. The long dock is the most consistent
                        spot for gulls to roost and can be viewed either from
                        the beach or a back alley directly behind the dock.
                        From the gate in the back alley, walk toward the gas
                        station and look across the fence at two more docks.

                        Pirate’s Cove: Continue northward on Lakeshore Drive,
                        checking out numerous docks (but with few if any
                        gulls) along the way. The best gull roost is at three
                        docks at 11021 Lakeshore Drive, 4.0 miles north of
                        Clearlake Park Post Office and 2.3 miles north of the
                        hairpin S-curve at junction of San Joaquin (turn left
                        if driving northward). This is where the possible
                        Kumlien’s Iceland Gull and other undocumented odd
                        gulls were seen.

                        Floyd Hayes
                        Hidden Valley Lake, Lake Co., CA
                      • Floyd Hayes
                        At Borax Lake this morning Mike Stanley and I saw a male EURASIAN WIGEON, a possible female BLUE-WINGED TEAL (head in water most of the time; I would like a
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 20, 2008
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                          At Borax Lake this morning Mike Stanley and I saw a male EURASIAN WIGEON, a possible female BLUE-WINGED TEAL (head in water most of the time; I would like a better look) with five CINNAMON TEAL, a PEREGRINE FALCON (Mike saw one earlier in the week) and a juvenile PECTORAL SANDPIPER (definitely not the Ruff suggestive of Mike's photos on the 15th; Jerry White and Mike relocated it and confirmed its identity on the 16th). We also saw a white EARED GREBE with a dark black crown; earlier this summer there was a different one with a white crown (or perhaps it is the same bird which has subsequently molted black crown feathers?).

                          In Clearlake I saw five species of gulls including an adult WESTERN GULL and at Anderson Marsh I saw two VAUX'S SWIFTS. I also saw a lot of warblers, vireos and flycatchers (especially at Austin Park), but nothing unexpected.

                          The most unexpected bird of the morning was a COCKATIEL feeding with MALLARDS on the lawn at Redbud Park.

                          Floyd Hayes
                          Hidden Valley Lake, CA
                        • Floyd Hayes
                          On Sunday the 12th, Doug Weidemann and I saw a male EURASIAN WIGEON at Borax Lake, where we also saw three leucistic birds. Two were nearly all-white EARED
                          Message 12 of 14 , Oct 9, 2008
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                            On Sunday the 12th, Doug Weidemann and I saw a male EURASIAN WIGEON at Borax Lake, where we also saw three leucistic birds. Two were nearly all-white EARED GREBES, one with a grayish crown and the other wish a black crown. The other was an AMERICAN COOT with some jagged dark markings on a mostly white head, resembling a miniature Bar-headed Goose.

                            I just met Nick Shepherd, who saw a pair of BARROW'S GOLDENEYES on Sunday the 12th at a mobile home park (can't remember the name) on a small peninsula in Clearlake Park (Doug and I missed it when we independently checked out the area).

                            Floyd Hayes
                            Hidden Valley Lake, CA
                          • Floyd Hayes
                            Nick Shepherd and I tallied 8 species of gulls this morning at Clearlake, including the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the roof of WalMart from 8:18-8:25.
                            Message 13 of 14 , Dec 7, 2008
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                              Nick Shepherd and I tallied 8 species of gulls this morning at Clearlake, including the adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL on the roof of WalMart from 8:18-8:25. Now that it's been here at least 37 days I'm hopeful it will stick around for the CBC, maybe all winter. We also saw a 1st-cycle gull appearing intermediate between Thayer's and Iceland Gull (strongly speckled tertials, primaries concolorous with wing, faint secondary bar, didn't see tail well; not as good a candidate for Iceland Gull as the 2006 gull).

                              At Redbud Park we were surprised to see four species of geese in a single flock: a SNOW GOOSE, a WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE, five CACKLING GEESE and 16 CANADA GEESE. At Redbud Park we saw a female RED-BREASTED MERGANSER. We were unable to find the RED-NECKED GREBE--my bad luck bird for the county--seen twice north of Clearlake Oaks by Jerry White.

                              Floyd Hayes
                              Hidden Valley Lake, CA
                            • Floyd Hayes
                              A SNOW GOOSE appears to shuttling back and forth between Napa and Lake Counties with a flock of CANADA GEESE. I saw it at Pope Valley (Napa Co.) on 27, 28 and
                              Message 14 of 14 , Feb 7, 2011
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                                A SNOW GOOSE appears to shuttling back and forth between Napa and Lake Counties with a flock of CANADA GEESE. I saw it at Pope Valley (Napa Co.) on 27, 28 and 31 January. Myron Widmer saw it at Detert Reservoir (Lake Co.) on 29 January and I saw it this morning along Butts Canyon Rd. about 2 miles south of Hwy 29 at Middletown (Lake Co.).

                                On 31 January, Doug Weidemann found a male RED-BREASTED MERGANSER at Detert Reservoir, along Butts Canyon Road south of Middletown. It was my first at the reservoir. I haven't stopped to search for it since.

                                On 29 January, Doug and I searched in vain for the RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER near Lower Lake for 45 minutes. On the roof of Wal Mart we saw a 1st-basic GLAUCOUS X HERRING GULL, probably the same bird present since November.

                                Floyd Hayes
                                Hidden Valley Lake, CA
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