Date: 2/13/20 11:50 am
From: kuschmanfred <makusch...>
Subject: [centralvalleybirds] Putah Creek birds
While much of the avian world is still in the winter doldrums along the creek, with Ruby-crowned Kinglets plus 1 Golden-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-rumped Warblers, the usual woodpeckers and White-breasted Nuthatches, Dark-eyed Juncos, the typical sparrows, Bushtits and an occasional Orange-crowned Warbler accompanying them, making up the usual assortment for this time of year, there were a few recent sightings out of the ordinary.

Three days ago I was surprised to see a mature Bald Eagle drift by East to West about half a mile south of the creek. Another large raptor further away may have been an immature eagle. I could not tell without my binoculars. A pair of Hooded Mergansers has been hanging out on the creek behind my house for several days now. Perhaps they have their eyes on one of my Wood Duck boxes overhanging the creek.

In my garden, a bright male Lesser Goldfinch marked like its cousins in Texas with an entirely black back and neck has shown up at my fountain a couple of times recently.

My local Red-shouldered Hawks had been laying the foundation for a new nest in one of my washingtonia palms for several weeks but in an exposed spot that I was sure would not survive the next strong winds. And sure enough, the recent north winds blew all of it onto my lawn. It is still early in the season, and one can hope that the pair learned its lesson and is scouting for a more appropriate place to start over.

But one of our earliest nesting species, the Anna’s Hummingbird, has taken advantage of the warm and—alas-- dry weather to get started with its breeding season. Today, I found the first Anna’s nest down by the creek, already finished with lichen decorations and with the female sitting on it, tucked away among the tangles of a small valley oak.This is the earliest hummer nest I have found so far around my place.

Western Bluebirds are present in good numbers, actively exploring my nest boxes and using them as sleeping quarters during the night, often more than one to the box.

Manfred Kusch
South bank of Putah Creek
3 miles W of Davis

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