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Least Terns and other SAC and local birds

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  • Chris Conard
    Folks, As reported earlier, a Least Tern first returned to the Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant on 5/21. This is the fifth year in a row they
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2012
      Folks,

      As reported earlier, a Least Tern first returned to the Sacramento Regional
      Wastewater Treatment Plant on 5/21. This is the fifth year in a row they
      have returned to this site, with successful nesting the past three years
      (only one pair). The other member of the pair was not seen this year until
      6/11, and nesting appeared to be underway by 6/15. The nest failed the
      following week; I suspect the eggs were eaten by coyotes recently seen in
      the sewer ponds area. The terns have attempted to nest again nearby, but
      the lack of consistent incubating of the nest is confusing, so I'm not sure
      of the status of this nesting effort.

      I am going to check the nest site today at 3pm and can take a limited
      number of people in to see the terns today (Sunday). Please contact me and
      I'll provide additional details. If today's short notice doesn't work out,
      contact me anyway and we'll arrange additional visits, assuming the birds
      stick around.

      On Wednesday, 6/27, there was a single Bank Swallow among a huge flock of
      swallows (mostly young Cliffs). I don't find them every year at the
      WTP/Bufferlands, but this is the third record over the years in late June
      and early July. Additional records there have been in April and May, with
      one in August. Since they stopped nesting along the American River Parkway
      at Rossmoor Bar, they are a difficult bird to find in Sacramento County.

      Last night I tried for the third time this mid-to-late June for a Common
      Nighthawk on Meiss Rd in the area they have previously been found, 2.7
      miles from Dillard Rd. There were at least two Lesser Nighthawks in the
      area (as well as one on Michigan Bar Rd and one along Hwy 16). As I was
      leaving in the near dark I tried to encourage a rattlesnake to move off the
      road, since two cars were coming and I didn't want it to get run over. As
      I was approaching it quickly wheeled and struck three times before moving
      out of the way. I was amazed how quickly it could go from seemingly inert
      to lightening-fast striking. It only rattled as it was leaving the road.
      It's been over 15 years since I had a good rattlesnake scare, so it's a
      good reminder not to be too casual with these guys.

      A Western Tanager was singing along Putah Creek upstream of Winters near
      Fishing Access 4 on 6/29, suggestive of possible nesting. On nearby Bobcat
      Ranch I have been doing surveys for the Yolo BBA. I'm
      somewhat disappointed that I've had continued presence of Band-tailed
      Pigeon and Northern Pygmy Owl through mid-June, but haven't been able to
      confirm nesting. The Pileated I was finding over a few weeks at Bobcat
      vanished (and I didn't refind one seen by Fishing Access 2 on one
      occasion). On the plus side, I was able to confirm nesting by Dark-eyed
      Juncos, and based on the number of territories, they are not rare in those
      hills.

      Chris Conard
      Sacramento


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