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Lake Mendocino Big Sit

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  • chaniot@pacific.net
    Sun, 12 Oct 2003 -- Sunday the Lake Mendocino Big Sit was held for the fifth consecutive year at the Mesa Day-Use Area of the Bu-Shay Recreation Area.
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14 1:26 AM
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      Sun, 12 Oct 2003 -- Sunday the Lake Mendocino Big Sit was held for the
      fifth consecutive year at the Mesa Day-Use Area of the Bu-Shay Recreation
      Area. Participants this year were George Chaniot, Chuck Vaughn, Vishnu,
      Barbara Dolan, Cheryl Watson, and Matthew Matthiessen for all or part of
      the day. The object is to see as many species as possible in one day by
      staying put in a 17 foot diameter circle.
      The morning started out well with four owl species, and by the time
      the sun came over the ridge we had recorded a record number of 51 species.
      After that the birding became rather slow compared to our experience in
      previous years. By sunset we had inched our way up to a new record low of
      71 species. The record high for this site is 87 species, set just last
      year. Two species, Barn Owl and Northern Pygymy Owl, were new for the
      cumulative list, now 110 species. The level of Lake Mendocino was 733
      feet, seven feet higher than on any other Sit date. After five years it is
      becoming clear that the number of species seen is inversely correlated with
      the lake level (r = -0.997, P < 1%). There were virtually no muddy edges
      along the east shore, and consequently there were fewer species of
      shorebirds, dabbling ducks, and diving ducks. With every big day there are
      big misses. This year we missed four species seen in every previous year:
      Green-winged Teal, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, and Mourning Dove.
      Some highlights of the day were an adult Bald Eagle that was in
      sight perched or flying for most of the morning, thousands of late
      Violet-green Swallows milling over the entire lake and ridges for hours,
      and a singing Ruby-crowned Kinglet. Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons,
      Orion's nebula, and shooting stars in the still air before dawn were pretty
      impressive too - as was watching two fishermen pull a nice Striped Bass out
      of a boil-up of bait fish.
      The Big Sit is becoming one of my favorite events in the birding
      calendar. Although the number of people who can participate at one site is
      effectively limited, I encourage people to find some other birdy locations
      to spend a fine fall day birding at leisure. Usually the second Sunday in

      George Chaniot
      Potter Valley, MEN, CA

      Common Loon
      Pied-billed Grebe
      Horned Grebe
      Eared Grebe
      Western Grebe
      Clark's Grebe
      Double-crested Cormorant
      Great Blue Heron
      Great Egret
      Black-crowned Night Heron
      Canada Goose
      Wood Duck
      Northern Shoveller
      American Wigeon
      Greater Scaup
      Lesser Scaup
      Common Merganser
      Ruddy Duck
      Turkey Vulture
      White-tailed Kite
      Bald Eagle
      Sharp-shinned Hawk
      Cooper's Hawk
      Red-shouldered Hawk
      Red-tailed Hawk
      Golden Eagle
      Wild Turkey
      American Coot
      Spotted Sandpiper
      California Gull
      Barn Owl
      Northern Pygmy-Owl
      Western Screech Owl
      Great Horned Owl
      Anna's Hummingbird
      Belted Kingfisher
      Acorn Woodpecker
      Red-breasted Sapsucker
      Nuttall's Woodpecker
      Downy Woodpecker
      Northern Flicker
      Black Phoebe
      Violet-green Swallow
      Steller's Jay
      Western Scrub-Jay
      American Crow
      Common Raven
      Oak Titmouse
      White-breasted Nuthatch
      Ruby-crowned Kinglet
      Western Bluebird
      American Robin
      European Starling
      American Pipit
      Cedar Waxwing
      Hutton's Vireo
      Yellow-rumped Warbler
      Spotted Towhee
      California Towhee
      Savannah Sparrow
      Golden-crowned Sparrow
      White-crowned Sparrow
      Dark-eyed Junco
      Brewer's Blackbird
      Red-winged Blackbird
      House Finch
      Lesser Goldfinch
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