Western Kingbird at San Joaquin Marsh!
Its unclear who first reported a winter Western Kingbird at the marsh, but I saw and photographed this bird two days ago on December 29, and again today - count week! On both dates, the bird was flycatching from tops of trees between Ponds 1 and 2. I heard it calling on both dates. There was a small flock (less than ten) Cassin's Kingbirds scattered about both times I saw the Western Kingbird. This is an exceptional bird for the count.
The marsh has some good birds for the count, but I was not able to find the male Vermilion Flycatcher - its been easy on the Pond 1 island until today. Also seemingly missing today were about a hundred Aythya ducks - I saw none of the approximately 100 Ring-necked Ducks that had been present. There were about 30 Redheads, 20 Lesser Scaup, and 4 Canvasback. Also missing was the swallow flock which is not surprising as it was clear for most of my visit (0800 - 1230). (Yesterday there were 50 Tree Swallows, 1 Violet-green Swallow, at least 4 Northern Rough-winged Swallows, and 1 Barn Swallow.) A Least Bittern called from reedbeds of Pond 1.
I saw the female Common Goldeneye in the channel by the boardwalk (just north of Pond C) yesterday. It wasn't there today, but in its place was a pair of Hooded Mergansers. I missed the Wood Duck pair today but I've seen them either on Pond C or roosting in the vegetation around periphery of the island in Pond 1.
A good bird for the marsh, but not necessarily for the count (I hope not!), is a Wrentit that was west of Pond A yesterday. There's been a report of two recently, so who knows, another chaparral/sage scrub species may become a resident breeding species at the marsh. (The one pair of California Thrashers has now turned into at least four singing birds; however, the California Quail have seem to left the sanctuary - I did have a covey of quail at the UCI Botanic Gardens south of Campus Drive about a week ago.)