back to Steve's Yolo County Birding Page



Final Total = 205

Total Miles = 933

January 1 thru December 31, 2008


1. Pied-billed Grebe
2. Eared Grebe
3. Western Grebe
4. Clark’s Grebe
5. Horned Grebe
6. American White Pelican
7. Double-crested Cormorant
8. American Bittern
9. Great Blue Heron
10. Great Egret
11. Snowy Egret
12. Cattle Egret
13. Green Heron
14. Black-crowned Night Heron
15. White-faced Ibis
16. Tundra Swan
17. Greater White-fronted Goose
18. Snow Goose
19. Ross’s Goose
20. Canada Goose
21. Cackling Goose
22. Wood Duck
23. Green-winged Teal
24. Mallard
25. Northern Pintail
26. Blue-winged Teal
27. Cinnamon Teal
28. Northern Shoveler
29. American Wigeon
30. Gadwall
31. Redhead
32. Canvasback
33. Ring-necked Duck
34. Lesser Scaup
35. Common Goldeneye
36. Bufflehead
37. Hooded Merganser
38. Common Merganser
39. Ruddy Duck
40. Turkey Vulture
41. White-tailed Kite
42. Northern Harrier
43. Sharp-shinned Hawk
44. Cooper's Hawk
45. Red-shouldered Hawk
46. Red-tailed Hawk
47. Swainson’s Hawk
48. Ferruginous Hawk
49. Rough-legged Hawk
50. Peregrine Falcon
51. Merlin
52. American Kestrel
53. Wild Turkey
54. Ring-necked Pheasant
55. California Quail
56. Sandhill Crane
57. Common Moorhen
58. American Coot
59. Virginia Rail
60. Sora
61. Black-bellied Plover
62. Pacific Golden-Plover
63. Semipalmated Plover
64. Killdeer
65. American Avocet
66. Black-necked Stilt
67. Long-billed Curlew
68. Whimbrel
69. Willet
70. Greater Yellowlegs
71. Lesser Yellowlegs
72. Solitary Sandpiper
73. Ruff
74. Spotted Sandpiper
75. Short-billed Dowitcher
76. Stilt Sandpiper
77. Long-billed Dowitcher
78. Pectoral Sandpiper
79. Least Sandpiper
80. Western Sandpiper
81. Wilson’s Snipe
82. Dunlin
83. Wilson’s Phalarope
84. Red-necked Phalarope
85. Ring-billed Gull
86. California Gull
87. Herring Gull
88. Thayer's Gull
89. Iceland Gull
90. Western Gull
91. Glaucous-winged Gull
92. Glaucous Gull
93. Mew Gull
94. Bonaparte’s Gull
95. Sabine’s Gull
96. Forster’s Tern
97. Caspian Tern
98. Black Tern
99. Rock Pigeon
100. Mourning Dove
101. Eurasian Collared-Dove
102. Barn Owl
103. Burrowing Owl
104. Short-eared Owl
105. Great Horned Owl
106. Vaux’s Swift
107. White-throated Swift
108. Black-chinned Hummingbird
109. Anna's Hummingbird
110. Rufous Hummingbird
111. Belted Kingfisher
112. Northern Flicker
113. Acorn Woodpecker
114. Nuttall’s Woodpecker
115. Downy Woodpecker
116. Red-breasted Sapsucker
117. Ash-throated Flycatcher
118. Olive-sided Flycatcher
119. Western Wood-Pewee
120. Pacific-slope Flycatcher
121. Hammond’s Flycatcher
122. Dusky Flycatcher
123. Willow Flycatcher
124. Black Phoebe
125. Say's Phoebe
126. Western Kingbird
127. Horned Lark
128. Barn Swallow
129. Cliff Swallow
130. Tree Swallow
131. Bank Swallow
132. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
133. Violet-green Swallow
134. Western Scrub-Jay
135. American Crow
136. Common Raven
137. Yellow-billed Magpie
138. Plumbeous Vireo
139. Cassin’s Vireo
140. Warbling Vireo
141. Bushtit
142. Oak Titmouse
143. Red-breasted Nuthatch
144. White-breasted Nuthatch
145. Brown Creeper
146. Bewick's Wren
147. Rock Wren
148. House Wren
149. Marsh Wren
150. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
151. Golden-crowned Kinglet
152. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
153. Western Bluebird
154. Swainson’s Thrush
155. Hermit Thrush
156. Varied Thrush
157. American Robin
158. Northern Mockingbird
159. American Pipit
160. Cedar Waxwing
161. Loggerhead Shrike
162. European Starling
163. Nashville Warbler
164. Chestnut-sided Warbler
165. Yellow Warbler
166. Orange-crowned Warbler
167. Yellow-rumped Warbler
168. Black-throated Gray Warbler
169. Townsend’s Warbler
170. Hermit Warbler
171. Wilson’s Warbler
172. MacGillivray’s Warbler
173. Common Yellowthroat
174. Western Tanager
175. Black-headed Grosbeak
176. Lazuli Bunting
177. Spotted Towhee
178. California Towhee
179. Lark Sparrow
180. Chipping Sparrow
181. Savannah Sparrow
182. Fox Sparrow
183. Song Sparrow
184. Lincoln's Sparrow
185. Golden-crowned Sparrow
186. White-crowned Sparrow
187. Dark-eyed Junco
188. Bullock’s Oriole
189. Hooded Oriole
190. Great-tailed Grackle
191. Red-winged Blackbird
192. Tricolored Blackbird
193. Yellow-headed Blackbird
194. Western Meadowlark
195. Brewer's Blackbird
196. Brown-headed Cowbird
197. Blue Grosbeak
198. Purple Finch
199. Cassin’s Finch
200. House Finch
201. American Goldfinch
202. Lesser Goldfinch
203. Pine Siskin
204. House Sparrow
Note: Costa's Hummingbird found Sept 17 at Community Gardens on 5th between Pole Line and L Street, conclusively identified a year later after hearing another one in Davis.



BLOG (actually, excerpts from emails to various people)

January 6, 2008
In the interest of promoting a reduction in CO2 emissions, I've embarked on an Environmental Big Year in Yolo County, California (just west of Sacramento). This is a fun way to promote a good cause, get some exercise, spend more time looking at birds and less in the car, and run into some unexpected birds. I suggest a goal, for Central Valley counties, of 200 birds. This can probably be achieved thru yard birding and a few longer trips for waterbirds.

I'm off to a decent start with 47 yesterday. Highlights just around Davis included:
2 PURPLE FINCHES (males in my yard-- first ever there)
2 SHARP-SHINNED HAWKS (one imm., one adult)
1 TOWNSEND'S WARBLER (at Alvarado Apts, where I suspect this bird is over-wintering; I just finally got on it to confirm it)
1 CATTLE EGRET in the wet fields of Community Park

January 19
Our second soccer game today was cancelled, so I took advantage of the good weather and rode to the Davis Wetlands and back. I nailed the gulls, adding Glaucous, Western, Glaucous-winged, and Thayer's, plus picked up a ton of ducks and a Peregrine to put me at 93.

January 21
Biking today for my Environmental Big Year and picked up a bird I would never have by car: a BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK. The bird appeared to be a first year male. I tried to turn it into a Rose-breasted, but couldn't find any hint of rose. Others can try. The bird is among the sparrows on Rd 99, one mile north of Rd 29. It was in the willows on the west side of the road, then flew across to an olive tree.

January 26
This morning I went to the arboretum to add Lark Sparrow, Wood Duck, Green Heron, Belted Kingfisher, and White-br Nuthatch. Dipped on all except a heard-only kingfisher. However, in the Shields Oak Grove I found a BEWICK'S WREN (I'm not sure I've ever seen one there before). Also, a SLATE-COLORED JUNCO was in the mix. I'm still a few shy of 100.

February 8
I took a day off today and rode this morning north of Davis. Picked up 8 species to put me at 109:
Green Heron
Cackling Goose
Brown-headed Cowbird
Tree Swallow
American Bittern
Rough-legged Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Great-horned Owl

I knew if I dilly-dallied long enough around Rd 27 in the 101 to 103 range I'd get those hawks. They started soaring once the morning warmed up, just like clockwork.

I saw a Peregrine soaring over Conaway, and I ran into 3 Merlins as well. I flushed the bittern from a ditch along 27 east of 103.

Next I need sapsucker, so I suppose I'll try along Putah Creek.

February 14
On Tuesday I went to Putah Creek from the Picnic Area to Pedrick. Picked up three targets: WHITE-BR NUTHATCH, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, and WOOD DUCK (also at West Pond). Missed sapsucker, titmouse, lark sparrow, so still trying on those--- perhaps Stevenson Bridge. Also picked up WHITE-THR SWIFT over Marketplace shopping center.

Most interesting was a police car in hot pursuit of something that sped up to the locked Pedrick gate of the preserve, asking if I had a key. I said no, he said stand back because I have to ram it, and he did and sped off up Pedrick!

February 16
I went up Rd 99 about a mile north of 27. There's an organic U-pick farm on the left (Pacific Star or something). They let you walk all around. No birds there, except 4 COMMON RAVENS flew over, which is nice from a bike. Ravens nested in high tension line power near the east end of Rd 30 two years ago and presumably last year.

February 17
I had a very productive outing this afternoon to the Davis Wetlands, picking up 7 BIGBY birds, getting me up to 122:

Yellow-headed Blackbird - in a mixed flock along Rd 28H; but no Trics
Sora - calling at Pond 7; I forgot a Virginia Rail tape, as they'll respond and they're everywhere
Horned Grebe - which someone reported on Feb 10 in the log book at the kiosk
Common Yellowthroat
Snow Goose - finally, over Conaway, 1 blue goose in there, no Emperor, possible Ross's, but couldn't confirm it
Sandhill Crane - two flying low over Conaway, just when I was thinking the scene needed their rattle!
Bonaparte's Gull - four flying over the sewage ponds
So some good ones here! There were 8 cars but no owls at the Short-eared Owl spot, and a pair of ravens over the go-kart place all afternoon, eventually at the tall radio tower at sunset.

All in all, a great ride!

February 20
Did a 4pm ride out to Stevenson Bridge yesterday, trying for sapsucker, Downy Woodpecker, and Oak Titmouse. After running into nothing but lots of people (cars, bikers, spray painters) and over a dozen Nuttall's, I stopped on my way back, in the last light of day, at the Stevenson Bridge Rd/Russell Rd intersection to pish. I drew in about 50 birds, the last of which was a Downy Woodpecker. I knew that species wouldn't be so easy. Up to 123 now. An excellent weekend! Now to work, soccer, and it looks like more rain.

February 27
I did a noon ride out to Stevenson Bridge today. Ran into a pack of twittering and farting Lark Sparrows just ne of Russell and Cassidy Ln right along the bike path. I checked them thoroughly for others, but found only a Savannah. I then birded the delightful Creeksedge Rd just north of Stevenson Bridge, finally finding a Red-br Sapsucker about half-way down the lane. I still need titmouse!

March 6
I had time for a ride this morning. I was debating between going for Lewis's Woodpecker, Ruff, or Mew Gull. Lewis's I could get as a flyover in the fall, plus they'll probably hang a while. The Ruffs I think are more afternoon/evening birds there, so questionable. But I am now armed with a mini-cassette Virginia Rail call for the next time I'm that direction. The Mews will be leaving any day now and could be tough in December. So I did the trek up to the Woodland WTP this morning for Mew Gull. Also picked up Northern Rough-winged Swallow at North Pond, Tricolored Blackbird (singing males) at the model airplane park, and Long-billed Dowitcher. Up to 130 now. I was hoping for Violet-green Swallow, but no luck. Also missed grackle up there. Oh well. Rd 102 wasn't bad, with a large shoulder in good condition.

March 9
Just got back from a 5-hour 42 mile trip to Winters, Lake Solano, and the Winter WTP. A mixed bag as far as birds go. I was hoping this would be my one and only trip to the foothills, but I'm not sure it will hold up. My targets were:
Vesper Sparrow
Phainopepla
Lewis's Woodpecker
Oak Titmouse
Acorn Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Violet-green Swallow
Golden Eagle
Barrow's Goldeneye

As with birding, you see what you weren't looking for. I ended up with 7 Bigby year birds:
Cliff Swallow - multiple locations, inevitable
Eurasian Collared-Dove - flying east, east of Winters, a very good pick-up
Oak Titmouse
Acorn Woodpecker
Violet-green Swallow - picked them out over Lake Solano, flying above the Cliffs and Trees, a good pick-up and hard to get closer to Davis
Rufous Hummingbird - in eucs along Moody Sl Rd, but inevitable now anyway
Western Grebe - one on the lower pond at Winter WTP

So, some big misses. I was especially bummed the Lewis's were gone. Apparently too late for Barrow's. And "Vesper Sparrow Corner" has not performed well in recent years.

Getting to 200 will be tough!

March 23
Ran into a Western Kingbird today. Probably the first time ever I saw one before others-- seems I don't see my first until mid-April usually! It was along F across from North Pond. Up to 144 now. I went thru the checklist and concluded 190 in Yolo County will be do-able, but 200 is a stretch. I can't figure out where those last 10 birds will come from!

Oh, I stopped by YBWA with my Virginia Rail tape today, by car; I had forgotten it when I went by bike. Got two birds calling within a few minutes at the marsh sw of the "Y" between lots A and B. They're probably all in that marsh between A and B on the right side, but it was too windy to tape along there.

April 4
Added two new BIGBYs from my yard this morning. First a Great-tailed Grackle flew over, squeaking away. Just having returned from 3 days in Phoenix (where I made it to the Northern Jacana), I instinctively ignored it before I realized I wasn't in Arizona any more. I've had grackles in April in the past here. Then there was a pair of Bullock's Oriole, right on schedule. Up to 146 now!

April 13
Yesterday I launched an amphibious assualt on the Causeway Unit of the YBWA (between I-80 and the railroad). I used to go here by bike back before it was the YBWA. The one pond, which I can see from the freeway, is loaded with birds. Lots of wigeon and teal, very scenic, but my Bigby new birds were limited to a fly over pelican and Caspian Tern. A flock of 120 White-fr Geese flew over. This is a nice ride, but requires going thru water and forests of mustard and spider webs at times. I also saw a coyote.

I came back on the north levee, via the Rd 30 marsh. It is re-growing! It was completely destroyed (drained, mowed, and disced) two years ago by the local reclamation district. I heard there was a Greater Scaup and a Clarke's Grebe at the Davis Wetlands, but I didn't make it there.

At 149 this morning, I ran into a returning Hooded Oriole at North Davis Farms. Great bird so close to home! Listen for the "whenk" call. It ranges from the eucs east of Judy's pond all the way to the Waldorf School. Last year they built a nest in the palm west of the public pond.

April 14
A Triple Bigby morning!
This morning behind Judy Whitcombe's house, there were two Long-billed Curlews and my first of season Whimbrel over the alfalfa field. The best was in the coyote bush at the head of her driveway, where there was an actively calling Dusky Flycatcher (soft "whip" call). I miss this bird annually often, so a big find for the BIGBY.

April 23
I've been looking for Vaux's Swifts in the weather the last two days, but it was this clear morning when at least 6 of them swirled around me for nearly 20 minutes at Judy Whitcomb's house. They were flying low over the alfalfa like little shearwaters. Also added FOS and BIGBY Warbling Vireo and Nashville Warbler-- and had my second Dusky Fly of the spring. Up to 159 and glad to get that swift!

April 30
I had a great evening ride tonight, going 3-for-3 on my targets:

Black Tern-- visible at Woodland WTP from Rd 25, dancing over the levee.
Redhead and Clark's Grebe-- at Farmer's Central Pond.


Yellow-headed Blackbirds were nesting at the Catfish Ponds on Rd 29 and in a ditch on Rd 25.

The male Hooded Oriole is still around North Davis Farms, though I don't see it every morning.

Going for Least Bittern (!), Virginia Rail, and Blue Grosbeak tomorrow at YBWA.

May 5
I was away for another soccer tournament all weekend, but am now home for the next few weeks. The big highlight this morning was handsome adult Chipping Sparrow, cavorting among House Sparrows in the ditch behind my house. It's nice to not have to chase this one down in the fall (where the Solano Park garden is probably the best option). I then ran into Betty in North Davis Farms, where we found a nice scattering of migrants. I'm still missing Hermit Warbler and Hammond's Fly... Up to 166 now.

May 6
I headed out to the Yolo Bypass this morning, but got delayed by a nice mixed migrant flock in the woodsy area of the greenbelt at the west end of Del Oro. This is a spot that should be checked daily. In one tree, I had 5 Warbling Vireos, 4 Wilson's Warblers, a Nashville, a Townsend's, a MacGillivray's (rare in spring migration and a Bigby for me), and a Swainson's Thrush (another Bigby). Another great place to check nowadays is College Park Circle.

At the YBWA, I dipped on shorebird targets, as most areas are dried up. To think I've missed Western Sandpiper in spring migration! Oh well, I'll be here in August and can do shorebirds then. I searched for Least Bittern south of D with no luck. I did hear two American Bitterns and found a singing Blue Grosbeak (another Bigby), two more Swainson's Thrushes, some late Golden-cr Sparrows, and got my Bigby Virginia Rail. After playing my tape (well, digital thingy) many places to no avail, two birds responded within two seconds at close range just where the autotour loop turns back north. Of most interest, however, was a pair of Savannah Sparrows, one singing, apparently on territory just north of the rail spot. They are of a dark-striped long-billed variety.

May 8
Solitary Sandpiper right now at Judy Whitcomb's pond.
Olive-sided Fly in the eucs between the bridge and Falcon, but could have moved to nw or ne of Judy's house by now.
W Wood-Pewee calling from ne of house.


All Bigby's! Up to 174 now.

May 10
With the morning free for birding, I decided to ride my bike thru Davis, listening and watching for birds in woodsy spots. In just two hours, I amassed a decent list, filled my last four holes (*) in my spring migration checklist, and brought my environmental Yolo County big year list to 178.
Highights:

* Ash-throated Flycatcher 1
*Hammond's Flycatcher 2
Warbling Vireo several
*Cassin's Vireo 1
Swainson's Thrush 2
*Hermit Warbler 2
Townsend's Warbler 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Orange-cr Warbler 1
Wilson's Warbler gobs
Black-headed Grosbeak several
Lazuli Bunting several
Western Tanager several

Probably 80% of the birds were in one species of tree, Honey Locust, which are few and far between in Davis (Eureka has a bunch, but the spot at the end of Del Oro is better).

I also used my new toy, a little digital recorder (Olympus Digital Voice Recorder VN-3100PC) with instant playback, to great effect, recording birds and calling them down, then recording them again when they were closer and louder, etc. I found that other species respond positively to a Wilson's Warbler song, at least coming to check it out. It was $50 at Radio Shack and is about the size of a small cell phone. It has a microphone input if I want to improve on the built-in mic. The built-in speaker is adequate on a quiet morning.

June 1
Nice morning at North Davis Farms. My second Olive-sided Flycatcher in June in as many years. A Blue Grosbeak is on territory along the alfalfa field behind the Whitcomb's and to the east. Added Willow Flycatcher this morning to get to 180. Also added Calif. Quail down by Putah Creek the other day, thanks to Betty's tip. They seem reliable in the old vineyard nw of the airport road and Putah Creek. With spring migration peetering down (although I'm still seeing a half-dozen Yellow Warblers and Western Tanagers each morning; had two WW Pewees this morning and Cassin's and Warbling Vireos yesterday), I'm just cruising the greenbelts hoping to hear a Northern Parula or Hooded Warbler or something. Now's the time!

I needed a ride in the country, so I headed to the Davis Wetlands. Not the best time of year to go there, but I did add Spotted Sandpiper (BIGBY 181), which may be nesting out there given all the islands. Nice array of ducks for June. And Blue Grosbeak signing in open view. Storm Pond is already good for avocets and stilts, so July will probably be the big month for that pond. The trick is getting out there with a scope.

July 26
12 species of toucans and 33 tanagers later, I'm back from Ecuador and Costa Rica. With 19 species to go to reach 200, I set out this morning for the Cache Creek Settling Basin, where I played cuckoo calls to no avail. Highlight was confirming nesting Lark Sparrows, with two young. Lowlight was a hillbilly couple with mean dogs camped at the main access point, preventing further passage. The big dog is apparently named "Son of a Bitch", which is I guess appropriate.

On the way back, I ducked into the Woodland Wastewater Treatment Plant. Although a Saturday, the gate was open and I thought I'd check water levels. The first pond was great and I quickly found a WILLET, several WILSON'S PHALAROPES, and heard a SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER among the other birds. A juv Black Tern was flying around. I then stopped by Farmers Central Pond, where I counted 44 SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS and finally got my Bigby WESTERN SANDPIPERS. Up to 186 now with these shorebirds. Water levels at the Davis Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Davis Wetlands will be good for shorebirds in a week or two.

August 1
I had a fantastic morning, knocking off my target species like clockwork. I figured out how to travel on my road bike with scope (strung across my back in a small bag) and tripod (bungeed across the handlebars). My binos fit in the front pouch. I went to the Davis WTP and the Davis Wetlands. First stop was picking out a few RED-NECKED PHALAROPES among the several hundred Wilson's. This required the scope, as the juvenile Wilson's were confusing. I then quickly found two BANK SWALLOWS on the wires at the office. This is a regular spot for them in the fall, although the juvenile Tree Swallows make it confusing. If you have any doubt, it's a Tree Swallow. I then heard a BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER call, and as I approaced the Wetlands, heard a faraway cry of a FORSTER'S TERN and eventually picked out two high overhead. Then the grand prize: two cooperative STILT SANDPIPERS at the Wetlands. Up to 191 now!

Nine to go. What will they be? Ross’s Goose, Tundra Swan, Varied Thrush, and Golden-crowned Kinglet are likely four easier ones this winter, plus Pine Siskin could make five this winter. Prairie Falcon is another. That still leaves a few…

August 31
This morning I was following up on a Green-tailed Towhee reported yesterday. No luck, but I did find lots of birds, including PLUMBEOUS VIREO (possibly the second county record).

The location is the South Fork Putah Creek Preserve: Putah Creek about 150 yards downstream of Mace Blvd south of Davis. Enter on the north side of the creek and walk to the fence with the barbed wire, then down to the creek. Lots of birds here this morning, as it's a bit wind-protected.

The vireo was all gray and white, and most notably with white, not yellow, edges to the folded primaries (see Sibley for this mark). It was also singing a tad, like Plumbeous (go to xeno-canto.org for comparisons).

The other big highlight was a Brown Creeper, unprecedented this early, but recalling the breeding pair found earlier this year along the creek (more upstream, I think).

Other hightlights: 3 Warbling Vireos 3 Willow Fly 2 Pac-slope Fly 7 Wilson's 1 Orange-cr 1 Hermit Warbler (my first this fall) 1 Black-headed Grosbeak 3 W. Tanagers 1 Laz Bunting 1 Bullock's Oriole 1 BG Gnatcatcher

I also stopped by the Solano Park gardens at UC Davis for the first time this fall and found the habitat excellent. This will make for great birding there in Sept and Oct.

September 20
All was quiet in Davis Saturday late afternoon, but I really wanted to ride and thought maybe Putah Creek would be where birds ended up at the end of the day. I was right. Excellent ride with 51 species. Unfortunately, still no BIGBY's so I remain stuck at 192. However, I had some interesting sightings:

1 Ash-throated Flycatcher and 1 Western Kingbird, both on the last day of their migration according to the Yolo Co. checklist. I tried to turn the kingbird into a Tropical, but it wasn't. It was molting in a new tail.

FOS Northern Flicker and Golden-cr Sparrow.

5 species of warblers (Yellow, Orange-cr, Wilson's, Black-thr Gray, and Yellow-rumped).

20 Violet-green Swallows.

And California Quail seem reliable where the UCD airport road hits the creek. Oak Titmouse was there as well, which is pretty far downstream for them.

September 22
With reports of Lewis’s Woodpeckers on the move, I repeated my outing to Putah Creek this morning. Alas, blown out by the north wind…

September 25
I rode my bike from Davis to the Woodland Wastewater Treatment Plant this morning, hoping to add to my Environmental Big Year list. I quickly refound the PECTORAL SANDPIPER from yesterday, active in the middle of the big pond. The plovers were all at their usual loafing spot two levees down from the big pond, so I had to walk all the way around. This was fortuitous. Looking up from my scope, a gorgeous SABINE'S GULL cruised by at eye level, circled over the big pond, then came around me and settled in front of me in the second pond among some teal, where it was quite inconspicuous. I was struck by how easily I could have missed this bird, had I had my head down in the scope. This is about Yolo's 9th record. I did refind the PACIFIC GOLDEN-PLOVER among the 20 or so Black-bellies, bringing my year list to 195 by foot or bike in Yolo County.

October 5
This morning I found an imm/female type CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER in north Davis. To get to the location, from the west end of Kestrel St., walk over the foot bridge, go north along the ditch to the alfalfa field, and then walk west along the alfalfa field about 100 yards or so. The bird was directly behind the house (private residence, which will be hosting a part at 4pm today) and slightly to the west. Best told quickly from Yellow-rumps by the bright white wingbars. 5th county record! Bigby 196!

October 7
PINE SISKIN, calling, flew over my house this morning. Bigby 197!



October 14
This morning, I picked up GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLET near my house for BIGBY 198!

October 15
At least FOUR Golden-cr Kinglets this morning, mostly in the pine triangle ne of Judy's house. Had great views. A heard-only VARIED THRUSH puts me at 199.

October 22
Sitting at 199 for my BIGBY year and 299 for my life Yolo list, I really wanted Red-throated Pipit (the bird that sounds like a bike tire releasing air after you pump it up -- the tire, not the bird) for a huge double milestone. Alas, the crazy north wind blew it away. Nice day for a ride though. I did enjoy picking thru 100+ Savannah Sparrows looking for a goody, but only found lots of individual variation.

November 18
Got it! 200! It wasn’t Tundra Swan or Ross’s Goose (although I recently saw those at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area). It wasn’t Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Hutton’s Vireo, or White-throated Sparrow, although that’s what I was looking for at the time. It was a CASSIN’S FINCH, calling from the treetops above College Park Circle. The bird seemed unsettled and flew off toward campus. This is actually my second Cassin’s Finch encounter this fall, as I found a few birds on Rayhouse Rd by car last month.

November 20
This morning at College Park Circle there was: Brown Creeper Red-br Nuthatch Purple Finch (1 female calling "pik!") Pine Siskins (and throughout Davis)

I biked throughout the Willowbank area looking for chickadees to no avail. There was a Golden-cr Kinglet at the north end of Willowbank.

I picked up ROSS'S GOOSE at the Yolo Bypass for bike bird #201.

This evening there were 50+ White-tailed Kites soaring at dusk over Anza in north Davis. Many settled in a pepper tree at the west end of Francisco and in a eucalyptus near the north end of Anza and Catalina.

December 6
Still sitting on 201 here. Froze my rear yesterday looking for White-throated Sparrow and Hutton's Vireo. I went thru all the sparrows twice and it wasn't there. I never would have thought such birds are still moving, but after John Trochet recorded zero, then 12, then zero WTSP at Cosumnes on three consecutive trips, I now think otherwise. And I'm still waiting for swans to fly over in the fog, but with no rain changing water levels, the swans don't seem to be moving.

December 28
Triple BIGBY CBC! Today I did the gulls at the landfill for the Sac CBC. My son Luke joined me and took these pics. We found a "Kumlien's" Iceland Gull with patterned tertials, tail, and very pale checkered greater coverts and even a pale base to the bill. Technically the ABA considers this a subspecies of ICELAND GULL, so it's a new BIGBY for me. Most gull experts consider all "Kumlien's" to be a hybrid swarm between Thayer's and nominate Iceland.

We also had another bird that had more Thayer's blood in it, which most would call a Thayer's x Kumlien's (although still a "Kumlien's" by the hybrid definition).

The main reason I biked was to finally pick up TUNDRA SWAN, which have failed to fly over my house all year. Sure enough, 8 birds flew over us at the landfill this morning. So it was particularly ironic that, this afternoon, in clear sunshine, about 30 swans flew over my house! I also added ROCK WREN at the corner of Rd 104 and 28H to reach BIGBY #204.

January 1, 2009
That's it. The year is over. This was a blast. I discovered some new birding spots and had to push myself physically to get over 200. I won't do this in 2009, but I will probably bike more often. Perhaps I'll work on my overall Yolo County life bike list...

Thanks to all, Steve Hampton


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