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Southern Lake County

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  • 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 1 of 14 , Sep 25 1:18 PM
      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 2 of 14 , Nov 6, 2005
        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 3 of 14 , Dec 4, 2005
          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 4 of 14 , Jan 8, 2006
            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 5 of 14 , Jan 17, 2006
              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 6 of 14 , Sep 20 1:14 PM
                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 7 of 14 , Oct 9, 2008
                  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 8 of 14 , Dec 7, 2008
                    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 9 of 14 , Feb 7, 2011
                      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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