Colusa Co. Semi Sand
- Hi all,
Today I birded around the Central Valley portion of Colusa County
hoping to fill in some gaps on my list, particularly shorebirds.
I zig-zagged around most of the southern 2/3 of the county and found
no shorebird habitat at all. Tree and Barn Swallows were noted everywhere and
there seemed to be at least a few warblers in every clump of vegetation, mostly
Yellows and Orange-crowneds. A Lark Sparrow was along Hwy 45 south of Colusa
and at least 2 Blue Grosbeaks were near mile 10 on Hwy 45. Thirty Cattle
Egrets were just south of Colusa on Hwy 45/20.
At Colusa NWR there was almost no water but I did have 43 species
including Western Wood-Pewee (1), MacGillivray's Warbler (1), Peregrine Falcon
(1), American White Pelican (7), Blue Grosbeak (several heard) and 1 Caspian Tern
(long overdue for my list). The migrants were on the trail at the beginning
of the tour loop, the tern was in the wet area well north of the beginning of
the tour loop.
Back on Hwy 20 and just west of the refuge there was a series of beautiful
flooded fields on the north side of the road near mile 27. I didn't have time to
check every bird but did have 4 Lesser Yellowlegs, a Black-bellied Plover, a
Semipalmated Plover, at least one calling Short-billed Dowitcher amongst well
over 200 Dowitcher sp, 250 Western Sandpipers and, best of all, a juv.
The sandpiper was foraging in close proximity with both Western and
Least Sandpipers. Though it appeared slightly smaller than nearby Westerns it
was clearly larger than nearby Leasts. Its legs were black, this apparently not
due to mud as all of the nearby Leasts had yellow legs. The bill was classic
Semipalmated: short in comparison with Westerns, straight, and with an obvious
blobbed-tip. The bird was overall pretty dull and much duller than nearby
Westerns with no rufous detectable from my distance on either the cap or
upperparts. The feathers on the upperparts instead appeared rather dark brown with
paler edges, giving a bit of a scalloped affect noticeably different from nearby
Westerns. Also quite obvious was a distinct white supercilium that was much
bolder than on any of the nearby Westerns. For what it is worth, this bird was
more active than the Westerns and tended to run around quite a bit, at least
enough so that it might help someone else pick it our a little easier.
This field should be good for at least a while if anyone has a chance to get
up there and I would be willing to be I overlooked some birds, especially
those around the back edges.
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