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Southern Lake County

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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