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18249Re: [CVBirds] Merced NWR CBC - I'll add a few birds to this

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  • Lisa
    Jan 5, 2014
      On Saturday I was out with my Palo Alto Adult School students as we spent the day at the Merced NWR.

      On the way east we stopped at the Romero Overlook and found TREE SWALLOWS in the hundreds bugging over the reservoir. With the water so low a now exposed "island" below had three AMERICAN WHITE PELICANS in the company of 4 BROWN PELICANS.

      As we drove through Los Banos a barn roof on our left appeared to have over 100 CATTLE EGRET sitting in the morning sun.

      We arrived at the Merced NWR entrance platform around 10:30 and had fantastic views of 2 if not 3 SORAS, and one VIRGINIA RAIL. They fed as if no one was watching. A few WILSON'S SNIPE were also here. We shared our scopes with non-birders also out for the day and they were shocked to learn that snipe really do exist.

      As we drove the auto tour we never found Horned Lark, but we did have a flock of AMERICAN PIPPITS fly across the road. We had a handful of WHITE FACED IBIS, half a dozen LONG BILLED CURLEW, 2 DUNLINS, and a few peeps. We did find 5 GREAT HORNED OWLs tucked away in the bare trees. Once at the second platform a HERMIT THRUSH and two FOX SPARROWS provided a great discussion on how to tell the species apart. A MARSH WREN also provided fantastic views as it vocalized from the tules at the edge of the platform.

      Around 1:00 PM the mixed flock of ROSS/SNOW GEESE was flushed by a subadult BALD EAGLE. The eagle flew back & forth over the flock until we believe it landed on the ground out of view.  This action flushed the chen geese toward us and closer to the platform. For some that had never birded a winter's day in the Central Valley or experienced this type of action it was a most memorable moment in nature.  With the flock closer we found three dark morph Snow Geese.

      SANDHILL CRANES were flying over throughout our day and of course the GREATER WHITE FRONTED GEESE were also here in numbers.

      Lisa Myers

      www.LetsGoBirding.com 408-656-7524

      From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqvr@...>
      To: central_valley_birds@yahoogroups.com
      Cc: Central Valley Birding <central_valley_birds@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Sunday, January 5, 2014 12:58 AM
      Subject: Re: [CVBirds] Merced NWR CBC
      Laurie and I made it out to Merced today and spent about 4 hours, mostly with the goose flock. 

      A few birds for count week in case they were missed (not seeing them in the summary): female common yellowthroat near the back observation deck; two hermit thrushes (one near the start of the tour, one out back near the deck); a white-throated sparrow (lifer. finally), and two tricolor blackbirds in a red-winged flock. Also ran into a small flock of brewer's blackbird. nice raptor: one swainson's hawk. Finally, a spotted sandpiper that photobombed a portrait session with a curlew. 

      when we arrived a couple of birders reported a pair of bald eagles had made a couple of passes near the entrance area, but we never saw them. I had no swans, no larks, no pipits (hmm...) and missed the burrowing owls again (where ARE they hiding?). 

      the white geese were 90%+ Ross's. Lots of immature birds. Found one blue morph snow goose in the flock, hanging out with about a dozen immature snow geese, but otherwise the snow geese were fairly rare in my samples. No banded geese today. 

      Chuq Von Rospach
      Santa Clara, california
      On Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 8:56 PM, Lawrence Parmeter <parmeter3@...> wrote:
           The annual Merced National Wildlife Refuge CBC was held today with over 20 people counting, and under beautifully clear skies. 115 species were seen altogether; the highlights were 9 Mountain Plovers, 4 Ferruginous Hawks, 1 Rough-legged Hawk, 1 Bald Eagle, 5 White-tailed Kites, 8 Great Horned Owls, 2 Burrowing Owls, 1 Am Bittern, 35,000+ Snow and Ross's Geese, 3,000+ White-front Geese, 2,000+ Sandhill Cranes, 3 Tundra Swans, and over 500 Horned Larks. Many thanks to all who participated.

      Larry Parmeter
      Fresno Audubon Society

      -- Chuq Von Rospach - Stories Told Here
      Santa Clara, California

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