Date: 1/1/21 6:28 pm From: Carter Gasiorowski <carter.gasiorowski...> Subject: [southbaybirds] New Year's Day Birding
Today, 1-1-21, my dad and I did a "Big Four Hours" style outing to find as many birds as possible for 2021. We started out at the far southern border of Stevens Creek County Park, worked our way north through the length of the park for a couple of hours, then birded the Shoreline Lake area for our last 2 hours to try and maximize our species count.
We arrived at our first stop at 7:46 am, started the 4-hour clock ticking, and watched the sunrise as we waited for our target bird, the quail. After a few minutes, a *California Quail* called out from the valley below. We also got the first of many *California Scrub-Jays *and *Steller's Jays* here.
The nearby archery range produced 6 flyover *Band-tailed Pigeons.*
A quick stop at the Cooley Picnic area got us a flock of 10 *Pine Siskins*, and a *Hairy Woodpecker *called from the Sycamore Group Area.
Our next stop in a large pullout across from the Picchetti Ranch Roadside lot is our favorite stop in the park, and today it did not disappoint! During the 10 minutes we were at this small pullout we saw 3 *Purple Finches*, one *Hermit Thrush*, a *Red-breasted Sapsucker*, one *Northern Flicker*, and a surprise *Varied Thrush* my dad spotted perched on top of a tree, as well as many of the more common woodland birds.
We then headed to the Picchetti Winery parking lot, where there were 15 *Wild Turkeys*
A stop at the dam produced one *Hutton's Vireo *in a berry bush.
We then drove to McClellan Ranch, where the *Western Screech-Owl* was sleeping in the barn, and the *Dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk* was surveying the field from the top of a sycamore.
My dad had the quick thinking to stop at the Bubb Rd. ponds, and two very nice birders there showed us at least 10 *Hooded Mergansers*, 12 *Common Mergansers*, and 40 *Ring-necked Ducks*. Thank you so much!
At this point, we had 42 species, and our total count was all down to the waterbirds at Shoreline. Fortunately, they cooperated quite well with a *Horned Grebe *by the boathouse on Shoreline Lake, and the expected *Surf Scoters *at the north end. Frank Vanslager spotted a *Bonaparte's Gull* among the Forster's Terns that I missed, thank you for the great spot, Frank! The continuing *Brant* was on the lawn north of the lake with a few geese and many coots, and the *Belted Kingfisher *was flying around the lake.
Scoping A1 was very productive, with *Greater *and *Lesser Scaup*, *Canvasbacks*, *Redheads*, and many more ducks. There was one *Clark's Grebe* among the *Western Grebes. *Unfortunately, I was unable to find the male Eurasian Wigeon. Most of the wigeons were either at the very farthest part of the pond with their heads tucked, or, oddly, hiding in the grass on the A1/Charleston Slough levee.
Shorebirds in Charleston Slough included one *Black-bellied Plover *and one *Semipalmated Plover*.
Among the many California and Ring-billed Gulls in Casey/Mountain View Forebay were 5 *Glaucous-winged Gulls*, one *Olympic *(Western x Glaucous-winged hybrid)* Gull*, one *Cook Inlet *(Herring x Glaucous-winged Gull hybrid) *Gull*, and one *Iceland (Thayer's) Gull*.
A *Sora *giving its whinny call from the forebay was the final bird found in the 4-hour window, for a grand total of 89 species in four hours! I am super surprised and happy with that number. I know it certainly wouldn't be possible without this amazing community reporting their sightings, such as Ryan's reports of the Brant and Semipalmated Plover and Brooke's report of the Mergansers. Thank you!
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