Date: 6/1/19 7:32 pm From: Randy Wardle <wrwardle...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] June Birding email for Santa Cruz County
For those interested, here is the June birding email for Santa Cruz County edited by Alex Rinkert to reflect current conditions. As always, I hope it helps to enhance your birding experiences this month. Good birding!
June has arrived in our county and because migration is a year-round event, there are plenty of birds to search for this month. Early June is a great time to look for “Eastern” and other vagrants at hotspots on the coast and also in the mountains. Rarities such as Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Indigo Bunting, and Rose-breasted Grosbeak sometimes turn up in June as do some warbler species like American Redstart, Magnolia, Chestnut-sided, and Northern Parula. Willow Flycatchers often appear in places such as the Pajaro Valley wetlands and river corridor, Bethany Curve, Natural Bridges and Lighthouse Field at this time of year, so it’s good to review their field marks in preparation. Another bird that is present in June but seldom reported is Common Poorwill, particularly around Loma Prieta.
The last spring migrant Cedar Waxwings will pass through in the first two weeks of June. Will any breed at Pajaro Dunes this year as they did in 2016 and 2018? Western Kingbirds are considered late as June goes on, though a few may still be found. By the end of the month, Allen's Hummingbirds will be seen in lower numbers, while the first fall migrant Rufous Hummers will start to arrive. It’s easy to watch lots of different species of swallow babies being fed now, but also keep an eye out for migrating or dispersing Purple Martins, as they are sometimes seen at places like Terrace Point, Natural Bridges, and in Watsonville. And Black Swifts are possible now. Watch for them foraging with swallows in the afternoons on the north coast at places like Moore Creek Preserve, Wilder Ranch, and Sand Hill Bluff.
Along the coast, more Sooty Shearwaters and Elegant Terns can be seen as the month progresses. The large flocks of Brant heading north are tapering off as are the Loons, although a few lingering individuals will remain close to shore, often in alternate plumage. Pigeon Guillemots are plentiful and Marbled Murrelets can be seen with a spotting scope off the Waddell Bluffs. All three cormorant species will have young now, and you can look for their nests along the cliffs on the Old Cove Landing Trail at Wilder Ranch, the cement ship off Seacliff State Beach, and the Eucalyptus groves at Pinto and Schwan Lakes. Watch for Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons nesting in these groves as well. Black Oystercatchers can also be found nesting now at Wilder Ranch, Davenport, and elsewhere where there are scree piles at the base of sea cliffs. Watch for the very first fall migrant shorebirds as they begin arriving at the end of the month. Also keep an eye out later this month for returning Heermann's Gulls as they begin to move in for the summer, and June is still a good month to look along the coast for Black Skimmers.
Among ducks, Mallards, Wood Ducks and Common Mergansers can be seen shepherding flocks of young during the month, though some females will still be sitting on nests. At Shorebirds Pond, you may see Gadwall raising young ones this month as well. Also, keep an eye out for occasional winter duck species that may be summering near the Pajaro River mouth. As June progresses, male Mallards and Wood Ducks will gather and molt.
Since June is the peak of the breeding season, some birds are still building nests, some are feeding young in the nest, some have already fledged young and are getting ready to parent another brood, and some post-breeders will be getting ready to leave by the end of the month. With so much breeding activity and the continuing possibility of finding some rarities, June promises to be an exciting month to get out in the field as much as possible. I wish you good birding!