Date: 12/30/20 11:01 pm
From: Jennifer Rycenga <gyrrlfalcon...>
Subject: [southbaybirds] Continuing Rarities - Summer Tanager and Green-tailed Towhee
Today Peggy Macres and I did an old-fashioned rarity chase in Santa Clara county. One of the joys of looking for rarities during COVID is you get to see some other birders. Another of the unexpected side-benefits is that you have to spread out a bit more. At Geng Road this paid off, when the SUMMER TANAGER was spotted by a few people who had remained in the parking lot, and they called the rest of us back! The TROPICAL KINGBIRD was also seen. A PEREGRINE FALCON perched on a power tower kept a watchful eye on a large flock of shorebirds in San Francisquito Creek.

We struck out looking for the Phainopepla at Guadalupe Oaks. We’ll try again next year.

We then had the strangest sighting/non-sighting of the day at Calera Creek Park. We walked to the site at the creek crossing; there was one birder present who had seen the bird yesterday, so he helped us get into the right area. However, the bulk of the mixed flock was hanging out at the far edge of the dirt “road” that borders the riparian by the stream. We had not thought to bring our scope - and I hereby alert all other birders to bring their scopes if they can to this site! I did the best I could, and both Peggy and I felt we had seen some field marks, and had some likely ‘candidates’. I took some distant pictures, but couldn’t read them effectively in the field. We gave up after something spooked the flock right at sundown, and they did not return. When I got home, I found I had a few recognizable and obvious shots of the GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, from right about the time Peggy was calling out “red head, white throat.” So we did see the bird, but didn’t ID it in the field with certainty, and had left the location thinking we hadn’t seen it. Another bird to clean up next year…which year cannot get here soon enough!

Good birding, and Happy New Year to All!

Jennifer Rycenga
San Mateo, CA
The San Mateo County Birding Guide

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