Date: 10/6/19 8:47 pm
From: Randy Wardle <wrwardle...>
Subject: [MBBIRDS] October Birding email for Santa Cruz County
For those interested, here is the birding email for Santa Cruz County for the month of October. I hope many of you find it useful.


It's October and the fall migration is in full swing as many species are continuing to move through or into the county. Gone for the summer now are the Hooded Orioles and most of the Black-headed Grosbeaks. The last Swainson's Thrushes are passing through, but be on the watch as Hermit Thrushes are returning.

Many warblers are still on the move. September saw a number of Yellow Warblers in most of the coastal hotspots. Watch for more returning Townsend's and Yellow-rumped Warblers, and for Palm Warblers on the coastal bluffs of the north coast. Continue to be on the lookout this month for rare warblers along the coast in places like Antonelli's Pond, Natural Bridges, Bethany Curve, Schwan Lake, Neary Lagoon and Pajaro Dunes. Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Tennessee, Virginia and American Redstart have already been seen, but more surprises are still likely to be found.

The “crowned sparrows” have arrived and look for their numbers to grow this month as they make their way into your yards to gobble up all your seed. Be on the watch for unusual sparrows migrating through the area this month at places like the Homeless Garden, Antonelli's Pond, and weedy fields on the north coast.

Cedar Waxwing and Western Meadowlark flocks are becoming more frequent as are Ruby-crowned Kinglets, so don't be too quick to call that little green and yellow bird a Hutton's Vireo. Watch for Tropical Kingbirds at Struve and Watsonville Sloughs where small numbers overwinter.

In the county’s waterbodies watch for the return of more duck species. Shovelers, teal, wigeon, and pintail have started to arrive, and Hooded Mergansers are not too far behind. Also look for Pectoral Sandpipers and other rare shorebirds as the high water in the Watsonville sloughs hopefully recedes this month.

Hawk migration continues this month over the hills. You may still be able to see numbers of them from places like Moore Creek and upper Wilder Ranch Trails on warm afternoons.

Finally, along the coast, watch for an increase in wintering gull species: Mew, Glaucous-winged, Herring, and Iceland to name a few.

If you haven't yet had a chance to go on a Pelagic Trip to look for offshore species that can't be seen from land, October is still a great month to get on board. High shearwater diversity and potential for Short-tailed, Manx, Black-vented, and maybe something rarer is still a good possibility. This has been a good season for Tufted Puffins as well.

October looks to be a very good birding month in the county, so get out with your binos to as many of the area hotspots as you can. Good luck and good birding!

Randy Wardle

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