Date: 1/22/20 4:17 pm
From: Chuq Von Rospach via Groups.Io <chuqui=<>
Subject: [southbaybirds] Recent county (and some out of county) notes -- possible new Burrowing Owl location?
I am literally just home and sitting down to catch up from a fun, long birding trip to San Diego and back, and a couple of things I’m seeing that I wanted to pass along.

First, over on facebook we’ve seen a report of Burrowing Owls on the property of Santa Clara Golf Course visible while driving along Lafayette. According to Ryan, this is a previously unknown location for them, so if anyone has any data on them I (and I’m sure Ryan) would appreciate it being passed along. And if someone has a chance to go confirm this sighting before I can, let us know. Unknown how many, just that they’re evidently visible while driving past. No idea if there are others further into the property or not, either, or whether this might be a nesting location or “just” some wintering migrants. But wanted to toss this to the list since I figure a number of you might want to chase and confirm this to verify the report.

Second, driving home over 152 this afternoon (seriously, I just got home), I want to report one full adult bald eagle in the “eagle” tree where we’ve been seeing them for the last few years, a bit to the west of where the incline/decline levels out headed from/to Casa de Fruta. There also is now a nest in that tree that I believe (please correct me!) is new this year, so it seems our eagles might have moved their nest to their favorite tree. I did not due to traffic get to see if someone was in the nest, but didn’t see a bird on it, and the full adult bird was on a different part of the tree. But our eagles are there and evidently moving in for nesting season.

Third, coming home today (I woke up at 3:15 this morning 20 minutes from Disneyland), I decided to bird Merced NWR to do some scouting for the upcoming trip I’m leading for SCVAS on Feb 23 like I do every year. This year it’s member’s only, and it looks like it’s going to be really popular and probably fill up, so if you’re considering it, sign up soon. (info: My visit today was frankly bonkers, with 54 species found in about 2 and a half hours, without seeing some of the usual suspects like House Finch or House Sparrow. The first 30+ minutes I didn’t even get out of the main lot because the wetlands there had 2 soras, a virginia rail and a wilson’s snipe just hanging out and waving for extended looks along with 25+ Cinnamon teal and 3+ Blue-winged teal. I then ran into a couple of Stanislaus area birders who had run into a (not kidding!) California Thrasher and were headed off to try to get pictures. We did get some furtive looks at it, but it didn’t cooperate. They were also looking for a Leuscistic Black Phoebe and a female Vermillion flycatcher that are being seen in one area of the refuge. While we dinged on them (but stay tuned), after they took off and I headed off a few minutes later, where I almost immediately ran into the leucistic phoebe a bit further down the auto trail than it had been seen previously. I was able to catch up with the other birders and clue them in, and as I was headed out to come home and sleep, they were headed back into the refuge for another chase for the bird.  We also had a full adult bald eagle, a great horned owl, Cooper’s and Red-Shouldered hawks, multiple tens of thousands of geese (Greater White-Fronted, Ross’s and Snow) in the air all at the same time, and even a few tri-colored blackbirds in among a red-winged flock. Kinda bonkers day. Oh, and a house wren, multiple kinglets, tree swallows and a downy woodpecker. No Partridge in a pear tree, though.  (Checklist:

I can’t promise bonkers on Feb 23, but the refuge is in good shape and full of birds, and I expect this trip in February to go pretty well. Consider sigining up and joining us!

(my birding trip: since I needed to go south to do some personal business, I turned it into a trip, and overnighted in Morro Bay but basically didn’t bird due to weather, followed by a night in Dana Point, where I was able to bird Bolsa Chicao, got  Lifer 299: Tricolor Heron and Reddish Egret in Newport Back Bay, San Joaquin Reserve in Irvine, a couple of days in San Diego (birding Tijuana Slough NWR, finally, but nothing super special beyond an Allen’s Hummer but a great walk and lots of fun), and more time in Orange County, where I nailed lifer #300: Indian Peafowl (aka Peacock) at Yorba Regional Park, and 15+ Cassin’s Kingbirds in Tri-city park in Placentia. Other than being exhausted and sore, an amazing amount of fun and some really nice photos, I think…. But I’m glad I’m home).

I owe a couple of you email, and I’ll get responses out to you ASAP. Been a bit busy for some reason…

(happy new year!)



Chuq Von Rospach
Email: <chuqui...>
Twitter: @chuq
Silicon Valley, California

(formerly <chuqvr...> Same me, less google)

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