Friday the 26th I spent most of the day recovering the lost transect route
at Shaw Forest, a closed parcel of the Cosumnes River Preserve. Except to
look at the broadcasters of buzzy warbler songs, I mostly kept my head down
and whacked away with my machete. So most of my list was heard-only birds.
Birds of some possible interest included one western wood-pewee, one
non-western empid, one Pacific-slope flycatcher, two Cassin's vireos, four
warbling vireos, six Swainson's thrushes, a singing hermit thrush (quite
possibly the same one that was there on Wednesday), three orange-crowned
warblers, a Nashville warbler, four Audubon's warblers, a black-throated
gray warbler, a Townsend's warbler, eight common yellowthroats, seven
Wilson's warblers, and four western tanagers.
I'll let Chris Conard relate the summary of his Orr Ranch survey yesterday,
when he gets the chance.
This morning (28 April) I did the transect survey at Shaw. The woods were
not nearly so birdy as a few days ago. I also visited the Twin Cities Unit
(TCU), the Barn Ponds, the ponds along Desmond Road, the hummingbirds
feeders at the Visitor Center, and the River walk. Migrant numbers overall
were rather poor but their variety was good. If I've counted correctly I
ended up with 110 species. Highlights include:
greater white-fronted goose- still approx. 300 around, not present at dawn
but flying in at Desmond Road at mid-morning.
snow goose- five at the TNC Barn ponds grazing a recently drained pond.
Eurasian wigeon- drake still at the TCU; probably not for long- the 45
wigeons there last week are down to eight.
eared grebe- two alternate plumage beauties at the Barn ponds.
golden eagle- this was, given the date and location, my least expected find
today. The bird was an adult flying over the savanna north of the Point,
where it was dive-bombed by a pair of Swainson's hawks.
peregrine falcon- one stirring the shorebirds along Desmond Road very early
in the morning.
black-bellied plover- 34, mostly along Desmond Road, with a handful at the
semipalmated plover- 140, with many at TCU, the Barn Ponds and along
snowy plover- one in a female plumage at the Barn Ponds.
Wilson's snipe- one at the Barn Ponds.
rufous hummingbird- male at the VC (plus a couple of black-chins and
no flycatchers other than black phoebe, ash-throated and western kingbird.
loggerhead shrike- a pair is back at their old spot along Bruceville Road
south of Twin Cities Road after an apparent absence of 1-2 years.
dim sum vireos and warblers: Cassin's, Hutton's, warbling vireos;
orange-crowned, yellow, Audubon's, Townsend's, hermit, yellowthroat and
Wilson's warblers. see below for the one that got away.
western tanager- five widely scattered birds.
blue grosbeak- three singing males, two along the railroad tracks and the
last out in the savanna
yellow-headed blackbird- about 40 in the bulrushes east of the tracks in
the first pond on the south of Desmond Road. No adult males seen.
great-tailed grackle- it looks like the colony at TCU has 30- 35 birds.
I ran into John Hess at the VC parking lot just before 11:00. He told me
that he found a yellow-breasted chat along the River Walk, where the trail
first comes to Middle Slough and there's a mown road going east off the main
route of the trail. I was unable to turn it up, but I did see a
golden-crowned sparrow there, my only one of the day.
Butterflies were quite good today, with 15 species. New for the year for me
were acmon blue and great copper. I don't recall having previously seen the
latter at the preserve outside of June.
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