It all started on Dec 11 with an Instagram post among non-birders, clearly showing a Barred Owl perched on a rafter in a barn in south Davis. The post made its way to Emmett Iverson, who immediately recognized the significance of the photo. That evening, he and several others were able to confirm the bird and obtain additional photos. Unfortunately, efforts to refind the bird later proved fruitless. Barred Owls have been expanding south from the Pacific Northwest for decades, hybridizing with endangered Spotted Owls in the process. They also move into a wider range of habitats. This marks the first record for Yolo County and the Central Valley and is 40 miles from the nearest record in Napa County (EI, CW).
Other December highlights include a Common Loon around the Port of Sacramento, found Dec 10 (JL) and seen off-and-on since. A Plumbeous Vireo found Dec 8 near Winters (KS) has been reliable and was a new species for the Christmas Count. (More details on that will be forthcoming once all the data is tabulated.) A Cassin’s Vireo was at Babel Slough on Dec 23. The fourth (!) Tennessee Warbler of the year was photographed in east Davis on Dec 29 (SS). And a Harris’s Sparrow has been seen in Woodland for the second winter in a row (SL).
At the landfill, a third cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull on Dec 21 (BW) became the third individual of that species recorded this winter. At least two Glaucous Gulls are present as well. Finally, last month’s star, the Worm-eating Warbler, continues in south Davis.
Thanks to the following for their reports: Emmett Iverson (EI), Sami LaRocca (SL), Jason Liu (JL), Sean Smith (SS), Kirk Swenson (KS), Bart Wickel (BW), Cindy Wilson (CW).
Checklists with Photos:
Barred Owl: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62236475
Instagram post of Barred Owl: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62238079
Plumbeous Vireo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62153554
Cassin’s Vireo: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62575649
Tennessee Warbler: https://ebird.org/checklist/S62762987
Compiled by Steve Hampton, Davis, CA