Date: 9/2/19 8:09 pm
From: Randy Wardle <wrwardle...>
Subject: [MBBIRDS] September Birding email for Santa Cruz County
For those interested, here is the September birding email for Santa Cruz County. With the fall migration coming, it should be an exciting month. I hope the info proves helpful during your birding outings.


September has arrived and so has the anticipation and excitement of finding some rarities during one of the best months for fall migration in Santa Cruz County. There should be a lot of bird activity all month long on land and at sea.

Many of our wintering landbirds will return this month: Ruby-crowned Kinglets, American Pipits, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Merlin, Fox and Lincoln's Sparrows, Red-breasted Sapsuckers, and about the third week of September the White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows will be making their way back to your feeders! Although Hooded Orioles, Olive-sided Flycatchers and Western Wood-Pewees will be mostly gone by the end of the month, wintering Western Meadowlarks start arriving in good numbers.

September continues to be a good time to look for Willow Flycatchers and Black-chinned Hummingbirds at Bethany Curve and other Westside hotspots. Also watch for Northern Waterthrush at predictable places like Antonelli Pond and the Butterfly Pond at Natural Bridges. This month is also the peak of Yellow Warbler migration. More and more Townsend's Warblers will be arriving as well. Be on the lookout for Hermit and Black-throated Gray Warblers as well as rarer species that might be flocking with them such as Black-and-white, Tennessee, Blackpoll, Chestnut-sided, Virginia, American Redstart and more. You may also want to listen this month for nocturnal flight calls from species like Swainson's Thrush in the hour before sunrise. If you're up that early and the weather is warm, you might want to drive up to Loma Prieta and try for Common Poorwills.

Be on the lookout for the return of wintering Burrowing Owls at UCSC and Swanton Pond. September is also a good time for raptor migration over the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Watch especially for Broad-winged Hawks and others over Moore Creek Preserve, the Wilder Ranch uplands, and along Highway 129 in the Pajaro Valley.

September is also a great month to go offshore on a pelagic trip to see birds not typically seen from land. Storm-petrels, South Polar Skuas, murrelets and many more are out there. Several species of boobies have been seen in recent years in the Monterey Bay and one could turn up on a pelagic trip. Is the continuing Red-footed Booby still coming to the Cement Ship?

Shorebird diversity will be at its highest this month. If the south county sloughs water levels ever begin to lower and reveal more mud, continue to look for Baird's, Pectoral, and Semipalmated Sandpipers as well as rarer species such as Ruff or Buff-breasted Sandpipers. Also look for these species at places like Younger and Corcoran Lagoons.

Although most Pigeon Guillemots will be gone by the end of September, some of the first winter gulls begin arriving: Herring, Mew, Iceland, and Western x Glaucous-winged. Evening feeding frenzies just offshore should continue with Elegant Terns, Brown Pelicans, Sooty Shearwaters and maybe even Black-vented Shearwaters should they push north. There is a chance of seeing rarer terns such as Common and Least at creek and river mouths and places like Corcoran Lagoon.

While most species have finished breeding, there is still some activity by species breeding into fall. Late breeders include towhees, finches and goldfinches, Pied-billed Grebes and a few others. Please record any breeding confirmations you come across for the atlas. And, don't forget the Monterey Bay Birding Festival will have field trips, lectures, and workshops from September 20-22. There will be a number of outings to choose from as well as some great speakers this year.

September is one of the most exciting months of the year to be out birding as fall migration heats up. Get out in the field as much as possible and see if you can add a few new life birds to your list! I wish you good birding!

Randy Wardle

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