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Southern Lake County

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 of 14 , Sep 20 1:14 PM
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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 4 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 5 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 6 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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