Gjon Hazard and I birded northern Mendocino County on 10-1-07.
We started the day at Usal Campground/mouth of Usal Creek. We had more
migrant landbirds here than anywhere else today; the other coastal patches
we checked were had very few birds. The highlight for me was the Swamp
Sparrow out in the low veg near the mouth. There were also 3 Willow
Flycatchers about. We had a few warblers (including a MacGillvray's
Warbler), vireos, and Pacific-slope Flycatchers.
Later in the morning, about 200 feet up Usal Road from Highway 1, there was
a termite hatch going on that was being attended by a flock of warblers
(Yellow, Townsend's, Black-throated Grey, Wilson's), Warbling Vireos,
kinglets, etc. The highlight was a Chestnut-sided Warbler. The scene
reminded us of something you'd see in the tropics with antbirds and army
ants, and was really fun to watch up close since the birds ignored us in
their feeding frenzy.
Also, there was a single Pectoral Sandpiper at the mouth of Virgin Creek.
BTW-we birded Del Norte County on 10-2-07 with Alan Barron, and there were
exceedingly few landbird migrants there too. We had only one Yellow
Warbler (at Klamath River Boat Ramp) in a full day of birding the chickadee
flocks! We did have a total of 5 Western Tanagers at Endert's Beach Road
and Elk Creek Park.
John E. Hunter