old confirmation of Northern Wheatear
- 13 October 2011 - A couple of weeks ago there was a report of a Northern Wheatear along the Mendocino coast. This is an Old World species for the most part, with some nesting in N.A. in Alaska, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Quebec, Greenland, and Labrador. These N.A. nesting birds usually migrate laterally into Eurasia for the winter. A very few, however, come south into the lower 48 US states. The WFO reference book "Rare Birds of California" (2009) shows only 11 prior accepted records in California and all except 1 have been coastal. This species is a California Bird Records Committee "review' species due to its rareness in the state.
There was recently another one found in LA county this fall, and that observation is pending with CBRC (and has excellent photos). The Mendocino County bird was found on October 2 and confirmed by a select few (I was privileged) on October 4 and 5. Excellent descriptive notes and photos were taken. Due to the extreme sensitivity of private landowner permission, this sighting was not immediately posted, and the specific location will not be mentioned. Chasing this bird is NOT POSSIBLE due extreme private property issues.
I apologize to the many who would have liked to chase the bird ...and I will take the heat! This sighting is now pending with the CBRC ...and if accepted will become the 410th species recorded and accepted in Mendocino County.
Good birding. Bob Keiffer
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