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Misc. Sightings 3/29

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  • chaniot@pacific.net
    Sat, 29 Mar 2003 -- Chuck Vaughn and I birded the Ukiah Sewage Treatment Plant this morning. There is still a nice assortment of ducks, though not as many as
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 29, 2003
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      Sat, 29 Mar 2003 -- Chuck Vaughn and I birded the Ukiah Sewage Treatment
      Plant this morning. There is still a nice assortment of ducks, though not
      as many as last Saturday. Among the newly returning migrants were CHIPPING
      SPARROW, LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER, and WARBLING VIREO. The "first seen" dates
      of most migrants are being logged on the Mendobirds database at

      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Mendobirds/database?method=reportRows&tbl=1&so
      rtBy=2
      Check it out and please contribute. Chuck sees a disproportionate share of
      the firsts because he spends a lot of time near Hopland, the "Gateway to
      Central Mendocino" for spring migrants.

      At Lake Mendocino I saw a BONAPARTE'S GULL sitting on floating
      driftwood off Miti camp. There was an OSPREY carrying nest material to the
      platform on the east shore just north of Perry Creek Cove, and there was an
      immature BALD EAGLE sitting nearby. There still are very few birds on the
      lake: lots of Western and Clark's Grebes, some doing courtship dancing, 60
      Double-crested Cormorants, a few Common Mergansers, and less than 100
      scaup. My hypothesis is that the big let-down of the lake last fall
      decimated the bottom fauna, particularly the fingernail-sized clams that
      seem to be the mainstay of most ducks. There still is opportunity for
      fish-eating birds.

      After several quiet weeks of incubation, the AMERICAN DIPPERS
      nesting under the old bridge on Potter Valley Road are now carrying food to
      the nest, with a trip about every three minutes. It's a good time to see
      them. I spent some time watching the hummingbird feeders at Potter Valley
      Elementary School for the odd humminbird seen yesterday and this morning by
      Jim Armstrong, but I did not see it. While waiting, I heard a parrot
      aaacking nearby and tracked down a RED-MASKED PARAKEET in the trees among
      the buildings. This is the first time I've seen this species on the loose
      in California. I've exhausted my library resources, but I think I can
      eliminate all other _Aratingas_: Larger than a Mourning Dove (13-14 in?)
      with long, pointed tail; mostly bright green with the following exceptions:
      bold, white, teardrop-shaped ring around the eye; bill pink; feet pink;
      crown and most of face bright scarlet, broadly surrounding the eye but not
      connecting under the chin as illustrated in Sibley (Is there age variation
      in this?); forecrown not brownsh; underwing coverts bright scarlet;
      underside of tail yellowish; "anklets" peach, not scarlet; no red flecks on
      sides of neck and breast.

      George Chaniot, Potter Valley, MEN, CA
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