Date: 3/9/17 12:17 pm
From: Steve Miller <steveemiller1981...> [south-bay-birds] <south-bay-birds-noreply...>
Subject: [SBB] Panoche Valley 3/8
Got a rare day off yesterday (3/8) and went to Panoche Valley.  First stop was San Felipe Rd off CA-152 and immediately located a single CASSIN's KINGBIRD in the northern-most of the 3 eucalyptus trees.
Spent the morning on BLM land since birding Little Panoche Rd is really tough right now with the pavement work and the massive number of trucks going to the solar project staging area.  This was a good idea.  The roads are nice and dry now.  Once at the viewing area, lots of MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS (70 or so all told), 2 SAGE THRASHERS, 200 AMERICAN PIPITS, lots of sparrows.  Drove about 5 miles along road P1.  Stopped at road P12 and found a singing BELL'S SPARROW.  A bit further on (mile 4 or so), 2 CHUKARs crossed the road slowly (not sure why - joke). At mile 5, another BELL'S SPARROW and another SAGE THRASHER.  On the way back I flushed a SHORT-EARED OWL at mile 2 or so and it landed just 30 ft from the road.  Got some video.
Then to Panoche Rd east of New Idria Rd. At the bridge were 2 LAWRENCE's GOLDFINCHES.   2 miles in on the left is a cattle feeding area that had 1000 TRICOLORED BLACKBIRDS (most I've ever seen there) and a FERRUGINOUS HAWK resting on the ground.  As the road drops down to the creek it gets a bit dryer.  Here I found a single VESPER SPARROW amongst the SAVANNAHs and WHITE-CROWNs and while not a bird but significant none the less were 4 endangered SAN JUAQUIN ANTELOPE-SQUIRRELs. I have not seen these in the valley before and this is the northern limit of their historic range.   At the creek were 3 N. ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWs and heard a MARSH WREN.
New Idria Rd had a lot of birds:  Of note were 1 PRARIE FALCON, 2 more FERRUGINOUS HAWKS, 70 LONG-BILLED CURLEWs, 40 more MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRDS, two more LAWRENCE'S GOLDFINCHES, and my FOY WESTERN KINGBIRD at MP 18.54.
Steve MillerRedwood City, CA
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