25 December 2012


There is a rather small, urban lake very near where I live in Elk Grove.  Last winter I found that for some reason it attracted a surprising amount of waterfowl.  Included in what we saw last year were a couple of BARROW'S GOLDENEYES, a species I hadn't spent all that much time around.

So, my goal this fall/winter has been simple; to check this lake more often.

I did just the other day and this flock greeted me:

Included in the flock were at least 3 BARROW'S GOLDENEYES including this male:

Check out how different the posture and head feathering can look based on behavior; actively diving or not:

For more details on what we saw at this particular stop, check out our checklist:

22 December 2012

Another post!

I'm trying to get back into the rhythm of actually posting stuff on here once in a while.  I won't spend too much time going into background for the last 3 months though.

Yes, I'm starting to see some SWAINSON'S HAWKS in the Central Valley yet again this winter.  Here's a juvenile (it's been postulated that all the over-wintering SWHAs here in the CEVA are juvs):

We have plenty of GOLDEN EAGLES around as well, WAY more than Bald Eagles.  Here's a GOEA from the Los Banos area:

Nothing special about this picture; it just shows a typical view of the wetlands that I work in (trying to capture, band, and radio-tag dowitchers and Dunlin):

You should see a GREEN-WINGED TEAL hit a mistnet at 50 mph!  I was lucky to snag this guy predawn the other day:

14 December 2012


So, last I saw, I had apparently filled up all the space available for my blog?  Anyway, this is nothing but a test.  Some DUNL and LESA to fill the void.

22 August 2012

Klamath Basin, week 1

In case you don't happen to view pictures on my Flickr account, here are some photos from the last week I spent up in the Klamath Basin in northern California.

First up, VAUX'S SWIFTS actually use the chimney to the field house.  Pretty cool.  Here's a ratty one above our driveway:

I usually see several COMMON NIGHTHAWKS on a nightly basis.  It's hard to believe that before this month, I still needed this species for California:

There are large quantities of ducks in the area of all different varieties.  Here is a cluster of REDHEADS:

Speaking of waterfowl, I was surprised to find these four GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GEESE at Lower Klamath NWR.  According to eBird, this is only the second time this species has ever been seen in Siskiyou County in August (they might have just oversummered):

The whole purpose of being in the Klamath Basin for a month or two was to catch LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS so that we can put radio-transmitters on them and track them on their wintering grounds.  Hence, you'll see a lot of photos of dowitchers:

Our prized catch so far was this LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER that we were able to put our first transmitter on:

Another common shorebird species is the WILSON'S PHALAROPE.  Here is a juvenile:

 Less common are BAIRD'S SANDPIPERS, one seen here to the left of a LEAST SANDPIPER:

I've also seen a couple of MARBLED GODWITS although they're not as common as Long-billed Curlews.  Here's a lone godwit at Lower Klamath NWR:

We've caught a variety of other shorebirds although they're not specifically the species we're after.  Here is a juvenile SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (you can see some fine, pale fringing on the wing coverts):


That's all for now, stay tuned for another update.... in like a month from now.  -sigh-

26 July 2012

Give me a rare shorb

It's that time of year again, time to sift through all the shorebirds you see hoping for an oddball, something lost, something that's not supposed to be here.

From the sounds of it, there have been some good things that potentially could work their way southward (towards ME!).  From north to south:

SE Alaska
Red-necked Stint

British Columbia:
Common Greenshank
Red-necked Stint

Curlew Sandpiper

Spotted Redshank
Red-necked Stint

Little Stint (2 different birds/locations)
Curlew Sandpiper

Last fall, I was lucky to be in Davis for the COMMON RINGED PLOVER as well as a RUFF in Oregon, another RUFF in CA, and two different SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPERS in CA.

So, here's to hoping for something good this fall!

25 June 2012

Bidwell Park, Butte County

We swung up to Bidwell Park in Butte County for a day trip this past weekend.  

Our main target was to hear the reliable BLACK RAILS present in the seeps in the upper canyon.  We did, two of them.  Very cool.  Here's a look at the habitat they're found in:

The rest of the day proved to be fruitful for insects, specifically dragonflies and damselflies.

This BISON SNAKETAIL was a new one for me:

The above snaketail wasn't the only clubtail present though, there were several PACIFIC CLUBTAILS also around:

Not unfamiliar, this VARIEGATED MEADOWHAWK was the only representative of that species that day:

Following are a couple of distinct and easily-recognizable skimmers.  First up is the bright FLAME SKIMMER:

... as well as the striking TWELVE-SPOTTED SKIMMER:

This picture isn't great but I can't remember the last time I saw a BLACK SADDLEBAGS actually perched!  Of course, it did this about 25 feet up in a tree:

The majority of damselflies were actually unidentifiable.  They were either AZTEC or CALIFORNIA DANCERS.  Anyone an expert on these two?  If so, have at it:

One of the species that WAS identifiable was a lifer for me, the SOOTY DANCER:

Here's a nice sooty-colored male of that species:

The black marks on the sides of these dancers gave them away as VIVID DANCERS:

Another nice surprise was my first EMMA'S DANCER:

Ashley called me over saying "What about a damselfly with red wings".  That caught my attention.  Sure enough, the last damselfly of the day was an easy one to ID; the AMERICAN RUBYSPOT:

Yes, there were some butterflies around although not as many as I had hoped for.  Here's a record shot of one of the many PIPEVINE SWALLOWTAILS:

Another prevalent species was the COMMON BUCKEYE:

I'll leave you with a scenic shot of the river canyon there at upper Bidwell Park: