Trip Summary, Manfred Kusch
A group of Yolo Audubon members showed up today for their annual
tour of my garden and a walk along my trail on the south bank of Putah Creek.
It was nice that by now the typical birds for this time of year in my garden
were in attendance: Hooded and Bullock’s orioles, the Hooded being busy
building multiple nests by now, Black-chinned and Anna’s hummers, plus a single
female Rufous Hummingbird, Tree and Barn swallows, Western Bluebirds and House
Wrens, a pair of Red-shouldered Hawks nesting in a tall Washingtonia palm after
losing their nesting tree, a tall eucalyptus tree adjacent to my garden, to the
chain saw last year, a pair of Great Horned Owl chicks peeking out of their
“nest” inside the broken off and splintered top of a dead eucalyptus tree.
However, the initial portion of my Putah Creek trail proved to be extremely quiet and unremarkable.I was able to point out in passing nest boxes that held nests of White-breasted Nuthatches, House Wrens, Western Bluebirds, and Wood Ducks as well as a Bushtit nest, but we did not encounter much bird activity until we reached the upstream portion of the trail dominated by beautiful large Valley Oak trees. There we were finally able to spot some spring migrants, Townsend’s, Hermit, Black-throated Gray warblers, a Warbling Vireo, Western Tanagers, Ash-throated Flycatchers, and a Bullock’s Oriole.
It was nice to find several Ash-throated Flycatchers, two seemed already paired up in one of their traditional breeding territories, after I had seen the first one only 2 days ago, rather late. We also heard a Black-headed Grosbeak.
So all in all, while not an exceptional day, we still found between 30 and 40 species, among them some of the migrants we had hoped for.
A visiting naturalist from LA reported that migrating warblers and others had arrived in good numbers only this past week down there. So there is hope that things will pick up in our area within the next few days and weeks.
And as it has happened sometimes in the past, after the group left shortly before noon, and after I had mentioned that I had so far not seen any Calliope Hummingbirds pass through my garden, a male Calliope showed up at one of my feeders in early afternoon and later was spotted feeding on flowering salvias. And while I had seen a female Rufous hummer in the morning, a bright male Rufous hummingbird showed up later in the afternoon, as well as a male Black-headed Grosbeak. Nice to have four species of hummingbirds in the garden , if only for a brief moment.
And finally I should mention that I was very surprised to discover that a Wood Duck had attempted to nest in the dry thatch of one of my tall washingtonia palms. I had seen a pair of Wood Ducks fly around among my palms but did not suspect that they were scouting for a nest site. After several days I would see only the female flutter around one tree in particular but I never saw her enter the thatch. However, after a recent stiff north wind that swayed the palms I found seven eggs scattered and broken under that palm tree. I can’t imagine how that duck found a level spot inside the dry skirt of that palm to deposit 7 eggs securely enough to not have them roll out unless she used an old squirrel or starling nest as a base.
South bank of Putah Creek
3 miles W of Davis
Additional comments, Joe Clemons
It was a sunny and warm morning at Manfred’s Gardens and along the Creek. There were 14 people who join Manfred on the tour of his grounds and the Creek. The area down by the Creek looked a lot different from previous years due to the high waters from the Creek due to heavy rains this spring. Manfred remarked that it was the second highest level he had ever seen.
All of the species recalled during the 3 hours of viewing are listed on the species list. Regarding spring migrants there were Orioles, both Hooded and Bullock’s, Warblers: Hermit, Townsend, and Black-throated Gray, a Warbling Vireo, and a Black-headed Grosbeak. Hummingbirds included: Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Rufus. For Flycatchers there was only the Ash-throated, Swallows: Barn and Tree. Also 3 Swainson’s Hawk were sighted over head.
There were many box nests, which Manfred pointed out, and for one Tree Swallow box nest some in the group were allowed to look inside to see the eggs. There was also a special treat in being able to see 2 Great Horned Owl chicks in their nest moving about. Also a pair of Red-shoulder Hawks were nesting in a Washingtonia Palm tree.
All participants thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
Species seen 39:
Warblers: Yellow Rumped 1
Black-throated Gray 1
Warbling Vireo 1
Orioles: Hooded 6
Hawks Red-tailed saw 3
Red-shouldered Heard 3 saw one on nest
Swainison saw 3
Woodpeckers : Nuttall’s
Black-headed Grosbeak heard 1
Oak Titmouse Heard 3
White-breasted Nuthatckes 2
California Scrub Jay saw 3 heard many
Western Bluebirds 8
House Wren heard 3 saw 2
Bewick Wren heard 2
House Finches 8
Lesser Goldfinches 8
American Goldfinches 4
Great Horned Owl chicks 2
Swallows: Barn 10
California Quail 2
Flycatchers: Ash-throated heard 5 saw 3
Black Phoebe 2
European Starling saw 3
Humming birds: Blacked Chinned 8
Western Kingbirds 7
Turkey Vultures 2
Western Tanagers 3
Wild Turkey heard 1 Golden crown Sparrow