Date: 7/1/19 11:52 am From: Randy Wardle <wrwardle...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] July birding email for Santa Cruz County
For those interested, here is the birding email for Santa Cruz County for the month of July. I hope it adds to your summer birding experiences.
July has arrived, it's the middle of summer, and there is a lot of birding activity in our county. Many species are still actively breeding and some are even raising a second brood. There seems to be recently fledged young everywhere and lots of juveniles can be heard begging for food from their parents. Many bird fledglings will be dispersing from their natal grounds during the month.
Watch for Loggerhead Shrikes and Western Meadowlarks in area grasslands this month as they presumably disperse from breeding locations outside the county. Also keep an eye out for post-breeding dispersants such as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Western Tanagers, Lazuli Buntings, Bullock's Orioles, and many others that may turn up in areas where they do not breed. Continue to watch for Purple Martins at places like Terrace Point, Natural Bridges, Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve and Watsonville, and also for Black Swifts on the north coast at Moore Creek Preserve, Wilder Ranch and Sand Hill Bluff. July is also a good month to listen at dusk for Common Poorwills up at Loma Prieta. Are there any Tricolored Blackbirds breeding in the county this year? They have most recently bred at the quarry in Wilder Ranch and at Last Chance Road in Swanton, but the county's breeding population seems to be dwindling.
As July progresses, Wood Ducks begin congregating at Neary Lagoon. All of the duck species are now molting into eclipse plumage around the county and it is getting more difficult to distinguish the sexes.
Fall shorebird migration picks up throughout the month. Look for adult golden-plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, Red Knots, phalaropes and other rarer migrants along coastal rocky shores and area beaches. Black Turnstones and Surfbirds should also start returning this month. During July, Sooty Shearwaters become more numerous as do Heermann's Gulls, Brown Pelicans, and Elegant Terns. Toward the end of the month be sure to start watching for Least and Common Terns at creek and river mouths in the county. Also by late July, fledgling Common Murres from breeding colonies to the north will start floating into county waters. Pigeon Guillemots will also begin fledging, as will Marbled Murrelets. Juveniles of these two species are often confused with each other so you will need to be careful when identifying them.
Between all the breeding activity, the dispersing of many species, and the beginning of Fall migration of shorebirds along the coast, there is plenty to look for in July. I wish you much success and good birding this month!